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Nation & World Briefs


Tuesday, January 02, 2018
On Trump’s plate: Congress, midterm elections, North Korea

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has returned from an end-of year holiday to face fresh legislative challenges, midterm elections and threats abroad.

The president began the second year of his presidency with confrontational tweets targeting Iran and Pakistan. He slammed Islamabad on Monday for “lies & deceit,” saying the country had played U.S. leaders for “fools,” by not doing enough to control militants.

Pakistani officials, including Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, responded on Twitter that the country would make clear “the difference between facts and fiction.”

Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Monday the United States should be aware that his country’s nuclear forces are now a reality, not a future threat. To that, Trump only said: “We’ll see.”

The president is hoping for more legislative achievements after his pre-Christmas success on taxes. He plans to host Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin at Camp David next weekend to map out the 2018 legislative agenda.

Few colleges track suicides, despite prevention investments

BOSTON — Nearly half of the largest U.S. public universities do not track suicides among their students, despite making investments in prevention at a time of surging demand for mental health services.

Tabulating student suicides comes with its own set of challenges and problems. But without that data, prevention advocates say, schools have no way to measure their success and can overlook trends that could offer insight to help them save lives.

“If you don’t collect the data, you’re doing half the job,” said Gordon Smith, a former U.S. senator from Oregon who became a prevention advocate after his son, Garrett, took his life in 2003 while attending college. “We need information in mental health if we’re actually going to be able to better tailor health and healing.”

The Associated Press asked the 100 largest U.S. public universities for annual suicide statistics and found that 43 currently track suicides, including 27 that have consistently done so since 2007. Most others said they don’t track suicides or could provide police reports for only a few cases known among campus administrators.

Schools that don’t track suicides include some of the nation’s largest, including Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin. Officials from those schools declined to comment, but both have dealt with student suicides in the recent past, according to news reports, including at least two at Arizona State in 2017.

Colorado authorities were warned about gunman’s mental state

DENVER — Colorado authorities were contacted with concerns about the mental health of Matthew Riehl over a month before he shot and killed a deputy and wounded four others. But the 37-year-old man was never held for a mental health evaluation.

Authorities say Riehl fired more than 100 rounds in his suburban Denver apartment before he was killed by a SWAT team on Sunday.

Wyoming College of Law students had been warned about Riehl, a former student, because of social media posts critical of professors at the school in Laramie, reported KTWO-AM in Casper, Wyoming.

A Nov. 6 email from Assistant College of Law Dean Lindsay Hoyt told students to notify campus police if they spotted Riehl or his car near campus. In addition, security on campus was increased for several days.

Campus officers called police in Lone Tree, Colorado, in mid-November to warn them about Riehl, suggesting his rants were indicative of mental illness, UW Police Chief Mike Samp told The Denver Post.

California rolls its own recreational marijuana sales out for 2018

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — From a pot shop in Santa Cruz that hung a banner proclaiming “Prohibition is Over!” to one in San Diego handing out T-shirts showing the first moon landing and declaring a “giant leap for mankind,” the Golden State turned a shade greener with its first sales of recreational marijuana.

Ceremonial ribbon cuttings marked the occasion Monday as the nation’s biggest producer of illicit marijuana moved from the shadows toward a regulated market. Freebies and food greeted those who waited in long lines to get their hands on weed with names like “Oh Geezus” and “Banana Breath.”

“I’m scared, I’m excited, I’m relieved,” exclaimed Kimberly Cargile, director of a shop in Sacramento that has sold medical pot since 2009.

Cargile’s shop, A Therapeutic Alternative, opened at 9 a.m. with the celebratory cutting of a red ribbon — a symbolic gesture that could be seen as a nod to those who cut through red tape in time to open the doors to a new era.

First-day sales were brisk in shops lucky enough to score one of the roughly 100 state licenses issued so far, but would-be customers in some of the state’s largest cities encountered reefer sadness.

From Associated Press