Girl with love of dogs dies at 8
HARTLAND, Wis. — A Wisconsin girl with an inoperable brain tumor who received tens of thousands of pictures of her favorite animal from strangers has died at age 8. Emma Mertens loved dogs. So, after she was diagnosed in January family and friends sent photos of their dogs to the Hartland girl. And after some social media posts, the photos, letters and gifts from around the world started pouring in to Emma. In March, 40 police dogs and their handlers from around Wisconsin paid a special visit to Emma at her home. Emma’s parents asked well-wishers to support her foundation at emmalovesdogs.org and in September it made its first gift — a protective vest for the Racine County Sheriff’s K-9 officer, Stax.
Lawsuits detail Navy collision
NEW ORLEANS — A lawsuit filed Monday details a desperate scramble for safety as water rushed in when a container ship collided with a U.S. Navy destroyer off Japan’s coast two years ago, killing seven sailors. The lawsuit filed against Tokyo-based NYK Line by survivors of the collision and relatives of those killed lays out how sailors saw water rushing at them as they scrambled for the exits and, in some cases, had to swim for their lives. Seven U.S. sailors were killed in the collision June 17, 2017, as the two ships were trying to merge into heavy traffic. An underwater gash sent water flooding into two sleeping compartments at a time when most of the nearly 300 sailors on board would have been asleep. Sailor Jackson Schrimsher was one of the last to make it out of the sleeping quarters alive, according to the lawsuit. He recalled a “wall of water” coming at him as he tried to reach the door — “scuttle” in Navy parlance. “He remembers a locker falling over onto him and a Sailor pushing him out from under it. By the time he reached the port-side scuttle, he was completely submerged. Plaintiff Schrimsher stuck his hand up out of the water through the scuttle, and was pulled to safety,” the lawsuit said. The lawsuits allege personnel aboard the ACX Crystal failed to follow procedures intended to warn their own crew and nearby ships of impending danger.
Jenner sells stake in beauty empire
NEW YORK — Kylie Jenner is selling a stake of her beauty business to CoverGirl owner Coty, in a deal that values the reality TV star’s company at about $1.2 billion. Coty said Monday that it will pay $600 million for a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics. It plans to launch more products under the Kylie brand and sell them in more countries around the world. The deal is expected to be completed early next year. Jenner, part of the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” reality show family, founded her company in 2015, tapping into her hundreds of millions of social media followers to promote her popular lip liners and liquid lipsticks. The 22-year-old, who is the youngest sister of Kim Kardashian West, will still be the face of the brand and be involved in creating new products. Coty hopes that the celebrity-backed business can help boost its sales and connect with younger shoppers under 35, a group that traditional makeup brands have struggled to reach. Coty’s other brands, including Max Factor makeup and Sally Hansen nail polish, have been around for decades.
Woman threw cup at congressman
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A woman has been sentenced to 15 days in federal custody for throwing a sports drink at a Florida congressman who frequently appears on television supporting President Donald Trump. Amanda Kondrat’yev, 35, pleaded guilty to assault in August. She had faced up to a year in prison. Kondrat’yev was part of a group protesting in June outside a town hall meeting attended by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. The second-term Republican was leaving a coffee house when a cup struck him in the back. Several witnesses identified Kondrat’yev as the assailant, and the throw was caught on video.
Guilty to threatening Omar
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A western New York man pleaded guilty Monday to threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Patrick Carlineo, 55, entered the plea Monday in Rochester, admitting to charges that carry up to 10 years in prison. His sentencing is set for Feb. 14. U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr. said the case highlights that free speech rights carry the responsibility “that individuals not make threats to harm lawmakers simply because they may disagree with them.” He called Omar’s office March 21, told a staffer the congresswoman was a “terrorist” and threatened to shoot her.
All-time Jep champs to clash
LOS ANGELES — The three top money winners in “Jeopardy!” history will vie for a share of $1.5 million next January. ABC and the quiz show’s producer said Monday that Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer will compete in prime-time episodes on the network. The first contestant to win three matches will receive $1 million. Each runner-up will take home $250,000. Alex Trebek will host the contest, titled “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” and debuting 8 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 7. Rutter is the top all-time winner with $4.7 million, followed by Jennings with $3.4 million and Holzhauer with $2.7 million.
Breaks legs with airport leap
OKLAHOMA CITY– A teenager broke both his legs after leaping from an Oklahoma City airport terminal roof while being chased by officers. Tthe 16-year-old male was exiting a Houston-to-Oklahoma City flight at Will Rogers World Airport when police approached with a felony burglary warrant. Police say he slipped out a side door on the jet bridge, ran across the terminal apron and climbed to the terminal roof in a bid to elude capture. As officers continued their pursuit across the roof, police say the teen jumped to the apron below, breaking both legs.
Rancher gets life in prison
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — A Colorado rancher was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday shortly after a jury convicted him of beating his fiancee to death with a baseball bat and setting the woman’s remains on fire to hide the evidence. Patrick Frazee was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges after the jury deliberated four hours before returning its verdict. Less than an hour later, a judge sentenced him to the life term, plus 156 years, the mandatory sentence after prosecutors previously decided not to seek the death penalty. “Your actions were vicious, senseless, without reason or explanation,” Judge Scott Sells told Frazee. Prosecutors said Frazee, 33, killed Kelsey Berreth, a 29-year-old flight instructor and the mother of their 1-year-old, in her home. She was last seen with her infant daughter on a grocery store video on Thanksgiving Day 2018. Her body was never found. Frazee showed no reaction to the verdict, while Berreth’s family sobbed and hugged one another. With little physical evidence, prosecutors relied heavily on the testimony of Krystal Lee, a former nurse who has known Frazee for over a decade, and the location of Frazee’s and Berreth’s cellphones in the days after she disappeared. Lee, who lives in Hansen, Idaho, testified that Frazee asked her to clean up the scene of the killing and that she watched him burn a plastic tote she believed contained Berreth’s body.
Threw stolen guinea pig at him
DANVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky pet store owner says two women stole a pair of guinea pigs, lobbing one of the animals at him during their escape. News outlets report 21-year-old Isabelle Mason and 19-year-old and Jaimee Pack on Saturday tried to smuggle out the animals from Pet Paradise without paying. Owner Scott Gonyaw told WKYT-TV he confronted the suspects, screaming “Give me the guinea pigs!” as they got into a car. One suspect rolled down a window and tossed a four-month-old guinea pig named Lucky onto the concrete. The other ran over Gonyaw’s foot with the car. He says he suffered bruising. Lucky wasn’t injured. The other guinea pig remains missing. Danville police charged the women with shoplifting, robbery and animal cruelty.
3 found roaming together
GODDARD, Kan. — Authorities discovered a camel, a cow and a donkey roaming together along a Kansas road in a grouping reminiscent of a Midwestern Christmas Nativity scene. The Goddard Police Department asked for help Sunday in locating the owners of the “three friends traveling together (towards a Northern star).” Police said in a Facebook post that if they couldn’t find the owners, they would be “halfway toward a live Nativity this Christmas season.” Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Meyers says the animals belong to an employee of the nearby Tanganyika Wildlife Park. One person who replied to the Facebook post inquired, “Are there 3 wise looking men near?” Another speculated that they “may lead you to the Second Coming.”
3 killed in OK Walmart shooting
DUNCAN, Oklahoma — Two men and a woman were fatally shot Monday morning outside a Walmart store in southwestern Oklahoma, and the shooter is among the dead. Two victims were shot inside a car and the third died in the parking lot just before 10 a.m. outside the store in Duncan, Police Chief Danny Ford said. Investigators believe the gunman shot the male and female victims and then turned the gun on himself. Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks said the two victims had been inside the Walmart Money Center, which offers check-cashing, money orders, tax preparation and other services, before they were killed, but that the shooter did not enter the business. Ford said he believed nine shots were fired.
Hong Kong campus under siege
HONG KONG — Police tightened their siege of a university campus where hundreds of protesters remained trapped overnight Tuesday in the latest dramatic episode in months of protests against growing Chinese control over the semi-autonomous city. In yet another escalation for the movement, protests raged across other parts of the city, fueled by palpable public anger over the police blockade of Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the desire to help the students stuck inside. Now in its fifth month, the Hong Kong protest movement has steadily intensified as local and Beijing authorities harden their positions and refuse to make concessions. Universities have become the latest battleground for the protesters, who used gasoline bombs and bows-and-arrows in their fight to keep riot police backed by armored cars and water cannon off of two campuses in the past week. China, which took control of the former British colony in 1997 promising to let it retain its autonomy, flexed its muscles, sending troops outside their barracks over the weekend in a cleanup operation.
California home was targeted
FRESNO, Calif. — Two men with semiautomatic handguns targeted a backyard gathering of family and friends in Fresno, spraying bullets that killed four men and wounded six other people before the assailants disappeared into the darkness, police said Monday. Authorities did not identify any suspects or motive for the Sunday evening attack at the home of a Hmong family that police described as law-abiding. The gunmen entered through an open gate on the side of the house and immediately began shooting randomly into a group of about 16 men gathered to watch football on television, Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall said. “It does not appear that they were targeting any individuals, and once they fired, they fled,” Hall said. All the shooting occurred outside, and none of the women and children inside were harmed. The shooters did not speak, and in the darkness no one reported getting a good look at them. Witnesses saw only flashes when the pistols were fired, Hall said. Police were investigating whether the shooting was connected to a recent “disturbance” involving some of the people at the party, Hall said. He did not describe the incident other than to say it occurred within the last week.
Charges due Epstein guards
WASHINGTON — Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein when he took his own life are expected to face criminal charges this week for falsifying prison records, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The federal charges could come as soon as Tuesday and are the first in connection with Epstein’s death. The wealthy financier died at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls. The officers on Epstein’s unit at the federal jail in New York City are suspected of failing to check on him every half-hour, as required, and of fabricating log entries to claim they had. Federal prosecutors offered the guards a plea bargain, but the AP reported Friday that the officers declined the deal. The expected charges will be filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who have been investigating Epstein’s Aug. 10 death. The people familiar with the matter insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly. Both guards were working overtime because of staffing shortages when Epstein was found. The officers have been placed on administrative leave while the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general investigate the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death.
Prince Andrew’s efforts backfire
LONDON — Prince Andrew’s effort to put the Jeffrey Epstein scandal behind him may have instead done him irreparable harm. While aides are trying to put the best face on his widely criticized interview with the BBC, royal watchers are asking whether he can survive the public relations disaster and remain a working member of the royal family. The question facing Queen Elizabeth II and her advisers is how to protect the historic institution of the monarchy from the taint of a 21st-century sex-and-trafficking scandal and the repeated missteps of a prince who has been a magnet for bad publicity as he struggles to find a national role for himself. “Prince Andrew, I think, really has to stay out of the limelight for the moment because there really, I think, is no coming back from the damage that was done … at least, not in the near future,” Kate Williams, a royal historian and professor at Reading University, told ITV News. Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, tried to end years of speculation about his role in the Epstein scandal by granting a no-holds barred interview to Emily Maitlis, the respected presenter of the BBC’s Newsnight program. But the strategy backfired when the prince failed to show empathy for the young women who were exploited by Epstein even as he defended his friendship with the American financier who was a convicted sex offender.
Station says not about Trump
DENVER — A Denver radio station says one of its hosts wasn’t fired in the middle of his show over criticism of President Donald Trump and that his contract is still in effect. Craig Silverman said his Saturday show on KNUS-AM was interrupted with a news feed after he talked about Trump’s former personal attorney Roy Cohn. Silverman said the program manager told him “you’re done.” Station general manager Brian Taylor said Sunday the show was interrupted because Silverman talked about appearing on a competing radio station to discuss the impeachment process. Silverman said Monday he was warned his show might be in jeopardy if he appeared on another station, adding his contract doesn’t prohibit that.
Closest witnesses kick off week
WASHINGTON — Nine witnesses. Five hearings. Three days. The Trump impeachment inquiry is charging into a crucial week as Americans hear from some of the most important witnesses closest to the White House in back-to-back-to-back live sessions. Among them, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, the wealthy donor whose routine boasting about his proximity to Donald Trump is now bringing the investigation to the president’s doorstep. The witnesses all are testifying under penalty of perjury, and Sondland already has had to amend his earlier account amid contradicting testimony from other current and former U.S. officials. White House insiders, including an Army officer and National Security Council aide, will launch the week’s hearings Tuesday. It’s a pivotal time as the House’s historic inquiry accelerates and deepens. Democrats say Trump demanded that Ukraine investigate his Democratic rivals in return for U.S. military aid it needed to resist Russian aggression and that may be grounds for removing the 45th president. Trump says he did no such thing and the Democrats are just out to get him any way they can.
Palestinians angered at reversal
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday said it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be a violation of international law, reversing four decades of American policy and further undermining the Palestinians’ effort to gain statehood. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. is repudiating the 1978 State Department legal opinion that held that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.” Israeli leaders welcomed the decision while Palestinians and other nations warned that it undercut any chance of a broader peace deal. Pompeo told reporters at the State Department that the Trump administration believes any legal questions about settlements should be resolved by Israeli courts and that declaring them a violation of international law distracts from larger efforts to negotiate a peace deal. “Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace,” Pompeo said. “The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.” The change reflects the administration’s embrace of a hard-line Israeli view at the expense of the Palestinian quest for statehood. Similar actions have included President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the movement of the U.S. Embassy to that city and the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington.