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Nation & World Briefs


Thursday, February 01, 2018
GOP legislators gather in search of winning 2018 agenda

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — Congressional Republicans in sweater vests and fleece gathered at a West Virginia resort Thursday in search of a winning election-year agenda, facing the notion that the best they have to offer in 2018 may be a recitation of the tax cuts approved in 2017 and with the threat looming of another government shutdown.

The legislators had forums on topics such as infrastructure, national security and the economy — but noticeably not on immigration, the major issue that bedevils them.

They got a pep talk from President Donald Trump reliving passage of the tax bill and highlighting other GOP victories from his first year in office. But the president offered no clear strategy for resolving the immigration-and-spending standoff that produced a three-day government shutdown in January and threatens a second shutdown next week. And he offered no new policy details on infrastructure, prescription drug prices or other items he’s mentioned as ripe for attention in 2018.

As for an immigration strategy, Trump said: “We have to get help from the other side, or we have to elect many more Republicans.” He then proceeded to take jabs at Democrats just days after calling for bipartisan unity in his State of the Union address.

Republicans appear headed into the year with the idea that 2017 was when they got bigger items done and that 2018 will be a time to deal with necessary business, including spending and immigration. Infrastructure would likely require a sustained push from the president. The message for the midterms is expected to be the economy and tax cuts.

Doctor: Most seriously hurt in LA shooting ‘extremely lucky’

LOS ANGELES — Four students were shot and wounded, one critically, inside a Los Angeles middle school classroom Thursday morning and police arrested a female student believed to be 12 years old, authorities said.

A 15-year-old boy hit in the head was transported to a trauma center in critical but stable condition, according to fire department spokesman Erik Scott. A 15-year-old girl with a gunshot wound to the wrist was taken to a hospital in fair condition, Scott said. Two more children were grazed by bullets.

Police arrested the female student and recovered a gun after the shooting that happened just before 9 a.m. at Salvador B. Castro Middle School, west of the city’s downtown. Preliminary information indicated she was 12, said Steve Zipperman, chief of the Los Angeles Unified School District police force.

Authorities did not immediately identify a possible motive, saying the investigation was in its early stages.

The most seriously injured victim was brought to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and remained in intensive care during the afternoon but was doing well.

Girl in Slender Man stabbing gets maximum mental commitment

WAUKESHA, Wis. — A Wisconsin girl who stabbed a classmate in an attack inspired by the fictional horror character Slender Man was sentenced to 40 years in a mental hospital Thursday.

Judge Michael Bohren granted the maximum penalty that prosecutors had sought, and discounted Morgan Geyser’s youth — she was just 12 — at the time of the attack in 2014.

“What we can’t forget is this was an attempted murder,” Bohren said. He said he believed Geyser remained a risk to hurt herself and others, and called it “an issue of community protection.”

Geyser, now 15, spoke briefly before she was sentenced. She broke down in tears, apologizing to the girl she stabbed, Payton Leutner.

“I just want to let Bella and her family know that I’m sorry,” she said, using a nickname for Leutner.

California prosecutors dropping, reducing pot convictions

SAN FRANCISCO — With pot now legal in California, prosecutors in San Francisco and San Diego are moving to erase thousands of marijuana convictions en masse, a step that could prove life-changing for some and could especially help minorities, who were more likely than whites to be arrested for such crimes.

“We want to address the wrongs that were caused by the failures of the war on drugs for many years in this country and begin to fix the harm that was done not only to the entire nation but specifically to communities of color,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

Advocates are calling on more counties to do the same.

“That’s awesome. It’s wonderful and appropriate,” said Josh Freeman, a marijuana farmer who recently had his felony conviction for selling small bags of weed at a reggae concert reduced to a misdemeanor.

Freeman can now obtain permits to grow marijuana legally, something he couldn’t do with a felony record. He can also legally buy a gun and take up hunting again, he said.

From Associated Press