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Tuesday, May 04, 2021 1:00 am

Nation/World

General shifts on sex assault cases

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – In a potentially significant shift in the debate over combating sexual assault in the military, the nation's top general says he is dropping his opposition to a proposal to take decisions on sexual assault prosecution out of the hands of commanders.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stopped short of endorsing the changes recommended by an independent review panel. But in an interview with The Associated Press and CNN, Milley said he is now open to considering them because the problem of sexual assault in the military has persisted despite other efforts to solve it. “We've been at it for years, and we haven't effectively moved the needle,” he said. “We have to. We must.”

The comments by Milley, as arguably the most influential officer and as the senior military adviser to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and to President Joe Biden, are likely to carry considerable weight among the service chiefs and add to momentum for the change.

Gunman had lost job at Wisconsin casino

A man who shot and killed two people and wounded a third at a northeastern Wisconsin tribal casino restaurant had been fired from the eatery and ordered by a court to leave his former supervisor alone, according to court records.

Bruce Pofahl, 62, walked into the Duck Creek Kitchen and Bar in Green Bay on Saturday and shot Ian Simpson, 32, and Jacob Bartel, 35, at a wait station at close range with a 9 mm handgun as patrons looked on, Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain said Monday.

As people were yelling and screaming, Pofahl went outside and shot another restaurant employee, 28-year-old Daniel Mulligan, the sheriff said. A team of Green Bay police officers opened fire on Pofahl moments later, killing him. Mulligan was in serious but stable condition at a Milwaukee hospital on Monday, Delain said.

McConnell makes GOP offer on infrastructure

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that Republicans are willing to spend up to $600 billion on infrastructure, far less than President Joe Biden is seeking, even as he ruled out supporting a higher corporate tax rate to pay for it.

Instead McConnell is endorsing the $568 billion public works plan from his Republican colleagues that has a smaller price tag, a narrower definition of infrastructure and is funded by fees rather than tax increases.

“We're open to doing a roughly $600 billion package, which deals with what all of us agree is infrastructure and to talk about how to pay for that in any way other than reopening the 2017 tax reform bill,” McConnell said Monday at the University of Louisville.

Storms leave damage, 2 deaths across South

Severe storms spawning multiple tornadoes moved across the South on Monday, damaging homes and uprooting trees from Mississippi to West Virginia. A tornado spotted in Atlanta forced thousands to seek shelter, and one man was killed when a falling tree brought power lines onto his vehicle.

The motorist was pronounced dead after fire crews cut him from the vehicle in Douglasville, Georgia, west of Atlanta, Douglas County spokesman Rick Martin told reporters. And in middle Georgia, 55-year-old Carla Harris was killed after a tree fell onto her Bonaire home, Houston County emergency officials said.

The weather first turned rough in Mississippi on Sunday, where just south of Yazoo City, Vickie Savell was left with only scraps of the brand-new mobile home where she and her husband had moved in just eight days ago. It had been lifted off its foundation and moved about 25 feet. It was completely destroyed.

“Oh my God, my first new house in 40 years and it's gone,” she said Monday, amid tree tops strewn about the neighborhood and the roar of chainsaws as people worked to clear roads.

Footage of shooting demanded at funeral

The Rev. Al Sharpton issued a powerful call for transparency and the release of body camera footage at the funeral Monday for Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man shot and killed by deputies in North Carolina, with the civil rights leader likening withholding the video to a “con” job done on the public.

“I know a con game when I see it. Release the whole tape and let the folks see what happened to Andrew Brown,” Sharpton told mourners in a scorching eulogy at the invitation-only service at a church in Elizabeth City.

A judge ruled last week that the video would not be made public for at least a month to avoid interference with a pending state investigation into the April 21 shooting of Brown, 42, by deputies attempting to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants.

Crash witness jumps into bay to save tot

A witness to a five-vehicle crash on a Maryland bridge jumped into a bay and rescued a 2-year-old girl who had been ejected into the water while still in her car seat, according to authorities.

The girl was thrown from a pickup truck on the Route 90 bridge in Ocean City on Sunday and landed in Assawoman Bay, the town of Ocean City said Monday. The girl was flown to a Baltimore hospital, where Ocean City police spokeswoman Ashley Miller said she was in good condition.

An additional seven people were treated at hospitals and released. Officials said the witness who rescued the girl has asked to remain anonymous.

Global child porn ring busted in Germany

German prosecutors announced Monday they have busted one of the world's biggest international darknet platforms for child pornography, used by more than 400,000 registered members.

Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement together with the Federal Criminal Police Office that in mid-April three German suspects, said to be the administrators of the “Boystown” platform, were arrested along with a German user. One of the three main suspects was arrested in Paraguay. They also searched seven buildings in connection with the porn ring in mid-April in Germany.

The authorities said the platform was “one of the world's biggest child pornography darknet platforms” and had been active at least since 2019. Pedophiles used it to exchange and watch pornography of children and toddlers, most of them boys, from all over the world.


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