A Missouri man convicted of ambushing and killing a St. Louis area police officer he blamed in the death of his younger brother has been executed. Kevin Johnson was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday night at the state prison in Bonne Terre. He was 37. It was the state’s second execution this year. Johnson’s attorneys didn’t deny that he killed Kirkwood Police Officer William McEntee in 2005, but contended he was sentenced to death in part because he was Black. The courts and Republican Gov. Mike Parson declined to stop the execution.
Hundreds of people have gathered at Harvard University and near Chinese consulates in New York and Chicago to support protesters who have called for that country’s leader to step down amid severe anti-virus restrictions in the biggest demonstrations against the government in Beijing in decades. About 50 protesters, mostly students at the elite Ivy League school, sang songs Tuesday in both Chinese and English. Several hundred gathered near consulates in New York and Chicago. Some held pieces of blank paper in front of their faces as a symbol of defiance to Chinese government censorship.
President Joe Biden says he hopes lawmakers can work together to fund the government, boost spending for Ukraine and avert a crippling rail strike. His comments came as he met with congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday. Biden is seeking to lock in more legislative wins before Democrats lose unified control of Washington on Jan. 3. But Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the likely new Republican House speaker, said Biden “got an indication that it’s going to be different” once the GOP takes control of the House. He blasted the Biden administration’s immigration policies, and promised a new round of investigations once the GOP is in power.
A judge has lifted a temporary restraining order that limited wolf hunting in Montana, saying there is nothing to suggest rules now in place will make wolf populations unsustainable in the short term. District Judge Christopher Abbott also rejected concerns raised by environmental groups that harvesting up to six wolves just outside Yellowstone National Park could harm the park's wolf population. Tuesday's decision dissolves a temporary restraining order Abbott issued on Nov. 16 and restores the hunting and trapping rules the state set in August. The rules allow for the killing of up to 450 wolves in Montana. Individuals are allowed to take up to 20 wolves.
Donald Trump is betting he can win his way back to the White House by reviving the outsider appeal that fueled his success in 2016. But his dinner with a Holocaust-denying white nationalist and a rapper who has spewed antisemitic conspiracies is demonstrating the risks of that approach as Trump vies for his party's nomination once again. Amid stinging criticism from fellow Republicans, Trump’s campaign is now putting new protocols in place to try to prevent a repeat. People familiar with the plans say that only those approved and carefully checked will be allowed to meet with him in his Mar-a-Lago club.
The only suspect arrested in the 2020 killing of soldier Vanessa Guillén at a Texas military base has plead guilty to four charges and is awaiting sentencing. Cecily Aguilar pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of accessory to murder after the fact and three counts of making a false statement. Aguilar could face up to 30 years in prison. Authorities say Aguilar helped Army Spc. Aaron Robinson dismember and dispose of Guillén’s body in nearby woods. Guillen’s death and claims by her family that she was harassed and assaulted at the Texas base sparked a social media movement of former and active service members who came forward about their own experiences
The Virginia NAACP says it has received “scant” information of substance in response to a wide-ranging public records request it made with the state’s Republican attorney general about his new election integrity unit. The civil rights group paid a deposit of more than $19,000 for the request this fall after expressing concerns that the unit could lend credence to election-fraud conspiracies. The group released the documents it obtained Tuesday, saying they show the unit is a “paper tiger" that should be disbanded. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Jason Miyares accused the group of engaging in a baseless attack and defended the unit's work. Miyares has repeatedly affirmed that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud in Virginia.
President Joe Biden is asking Congress to intervene to avert a potentially crippling freight rail strike before Christmas, even if it means handing a defeat to Democratic allies in the labor movement. The legislation urged by Biden and being voted on Wednesday by the House would impose a compromise labor agreement brokered by his administration that was ultimately voted down by four of the 12 unions that represent about 115,000 employees at the freight railroads. At issue is paid sick leave. Biden's deal would leave out provisions on that while preventing a rail stoppage that would cost the economy $2 billion a day. But forcing the deal could also cost him his good standing among unions.
New Mexico's state Canvassing Board certified results from the midterm election on Tuesday in a 3-0 vote amid praise for election administrators and poll workers. The board meeting was the culmination a once-routine process that in some locations has become a focal point for those voicing distrust in voting systems. Election results have largely been certified without issue in jurisdictions across the country, though Republican officials in a rural Arizona county have so far refused. New Mexico’s 33 counties already certified results of the Nov. 8 election. Democrats maintained control of every statewide elected office and flipped a congressional seat.
Senate OKs landmark bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriages; House approval comes next.
President Joe Biden’s call for Congress to intervene in the railroad contract dispute undercuts efforts to address workers’ quality of life concerns and unions decried the move. But businesses stress that it is crucial to avoid a strike that would devastate the economy. Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that lawmakers will be asked to vote this week to impose the terms of the deals the 12 unions agreed to before the original strike deadline in September even though four of those unions representing more than half of the 115,000 rail workers rejected them. Biden said he reluctantly agreed that it would be best to override the union votes because the potential damage to the economy would be too great.
The Justice Department is making a rare intervention to try to bring improvements in the beleaguered water system in the Mississippi capital city. The Jackson system nearly collapsed in late summer and continues to struggle. The department filed a proposal Tuesday to appoint a third-party manager for the system. That is meant to be an interim measure while the federal government, the city of Jackson and the Mississippi State Department of Health try to negotiate a judicially enforceable consent decree to achieve long-term sustainability of the system and the city’s compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and other relevant laws.
A Walmart employee who survived the mass shooting at a store in Virginia has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the company. Employee Donya Prioleau claims in her lawsuit that Walmart continued to employ the shooter “who had known propensities for violence, threats and strange behavior.” The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Chesapeake Circuit Court. Walmart, which is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment. Prioleau’s suit alleges that she has experienced post-traumatic stress disorder from witnessing the rampage in the store’s breakroom. Police said that store supervisor Andre Bing fatally shot six employees and wounded several others. Police said he died at the scene from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
West Virginia state lawmaker Republican Moore Capito, son of U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, has announced he’s making a bid for governor in 2024. Capito, a 40-year-old Charleston-area lawyer, has represented Kanawha County in the West Virginia House of Delegates since 2016. He serves as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Moore said he wants to reduce taxes, improve student achievement in schools and invest in business development and energy infrastructure in the state. One of his goals is to put reading and math specialists in every elementary and middle school in West Virginia. The state ranked well below the U.S. average in the most recent countrywide assessment of reading and mathematics.
Foes of a proposal to make it harder for citizens to amend Ohio’s constitution are vowing to unleash the same activist coalition against it that repealed an anti-union law last decade. Groups including the union-backed organization We Are Ohio criticized what Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose has dubbed the Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment. Opponents held a news conference Tuesday and called the proposal “a slap in the face” to Ohio residents. A joint resolution moving through the lame duck session would ask voters to require a 60% supermajority to approve future citizen-initiated amendments. The same standard wouldn't apply to amendments advanced by lawmakers.
Postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers on Tuesday reached a tentative labor agreement with the University of California. But they'll remain on strike in solidarity with thousands of graduate student workers at all 10 of the university system's campuses. The union representing the scholars and researchers said the deal would provide “substantial wage increases that address cost of living.” The agreement must be ratified in a vote by members. The postdoctoral employees and researchers make up about 12,000 of the 48,000 union members who walked off the job three weeks ago. About 36,000 graduate student teaching assistants, tutors and researchers are bargaining separately and remain on strike.
The bodies of more than 80 Native American children are buried at the former Genoa Indian Industrial School in central Nebraska. But for decades, the location of the student cemetery has been a mystery, lost over time after the school closed in 1931 and memories faded of the once-busy campus that sprawled over 640 acres in the tiny community of Genoa. That mystery may soon be solved thanks to efforts by researchers who pored over century-old documents and maps, examined land with specially trained dogs and made use of ground-penetrating radar in search of the lost graves.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced a new initiative that would allow authorities to more aggressively intervene to help people in need of mental health treatment. The mayor said in announcing the program Tuesday that there is “a moral obligation” to act, even if it means providing care to those who don’t ask for it. The mayor’s directive would give outreach workers, city hospitals and police the legal authority to involuntarily hospitalize anyone they deem a danger to themselves or who is unable to care for themselves. The mayor’s announcement was met with caution by civil rights groups and advocates for the homeless.
A federal trial to determine whether South Carolina’s congressional maps are legal is closing with arguments over whether the state Legislature diluted Black voting power. The NAACP says the General Assembly removed Black voters from the coastal 1st District to make it easier for Republicans to win and dilute African American votes. The General Assembly says it drew maps fairly to deal with 10% population growth concentrated along the coast. A panel of three federal judges heard closing arguments in the case Tuesday morning in Charleston. A ruling is expected later.
A new study says the U.S. gun death rate last year hit its highest mark in nearly three decades. And the rate among women has been growing faster than that of men. The paper was published Tuesday by JAMA Network Open. The researchers examined trends in firearm deaths since 1990. They say gun deaths began to steadily increase in 2005. But the rise accelerated recently, with a 20% jump from 2019 to 2021. American men continue to die in firearm fatalities at far higher rates than women. But the researchers said the increase in gun deaths of women is playing a tragic and under-recognized role.
Twitter is no longer enforcing its policy against misinformation about COVID-19. The change was announced in an online update to Twitter's rules and comes after the platform was purchased by Elon Musk, who in the past has himself spread misleading COVID claims on Twitter. The platform enacted its COVID misinformation policy in early 2020 and since then has suspended more than 11,000 accounts and removed nearly 100,000 pieces of content that it deemed potentially harmful. Some users celebrated the change Tuesday while public health experts warned it could discourage vaccination and other efforts to combat the still-spreading virus.
Journalists with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper are on strike and alleging unfair labor practices by parent company McClatchy. Union workers claim the company is refusing to bargain in good faith over a new contract. Workers with the Fort Worth NewsGuild announced the strike Monday. The newspaper has said it will continue to report the news and hopes to eventually reach an agreement. The Star-Telegram strike is the latest media labor dispute. Union journalists at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have been on strike for several weeks in the first newspaper strike in the United States in decades.
A Florida prosecutor suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis opened his federal civil trial against the governor by alleging that his removal was based on his personal political positions on abortion and transgender rights. Andrew Warren, a Democrat suspended from his twice-elected post as state attorney in Hillsborough County, sued DeSantis seeking his reinstatement. The trial began Tuesday. DeSantis suspended Warren over the prosecutor’s signing of statements that said he would not pursue criminal charges against seekers or providers of abortion or gender transition treatments, as well as policies about not charging people with certain minor crimes.
A program offering cash and free outdoor adventures to remote workers to move to West Virginia with the hope of offsetting population losses has welcomed 143 new residents since its launch. The public-private program Ascend West Virginia on Tuesday added a fourth destination where out-of-state workers can apply to live. Applications are being accepted immediately for the Elkins area in the northeastern part of the state, as well as three other previously announced areas. Successful applicants will receive $12,000 along with free passes to indulge in whitewater rafting, golf, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing and ziplining. The 2020 census found that West Virginia lost a greater percentage of its residents than any other state in the past decade.
The parents of a Georgia high school basketball player who collapsed while practicing outdoors in sweltering heat and later died announced that they have agreed to a $10 million settlement with the school district. Their lawyers said Tuesday that, as part of the settlement, the Clayton County school system agreed to rename the gymnasium at Elite Scholars Academy for Imani Bell. The 16-year-old was a junior at the school when she died. Online court records show that the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family was settled last month. An attorney for the family, L. Chris Stewart, said the significant settlement amount sends a message to other school districts.