Stepfather of missing 4-year-old Texas girl who claims she was kidnapped arrested

U.S. NEWS Stepfather of missing 4-year-old Texas girl who claims she was kidnapped arrested https://linewsradio.com/stepfather-of-missing-4-year-old-texas-girl-who-claims-she-was-kidnapped-arrested/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock/kali9(HOUSTON) — The stepfather of missing 4-year-old Maleah Davis was arrested and charged in connection to her disappearance, one week after he told Texas police that she was kidnapped by three men who assaulted and knocked him unconscious.

Derion Vence, 26, was arrested by the Houston Police Department at a relative’s home and charged with tampering with evidence, human corpse, in the disappearance of his stepdaughter on the night of May 4.

Although a police source told ABC News that the young girl was still missing, they would not say whether she was believed to be dead or alive.

Police said in a statement on Saturday that they had obtained blood evidence linked to Maleah from Vence’s apartment and that he was seen leaving his apartment with a full laundry basket, which was found Thursday along with a gas can in the trunk of the silver Nissan Altima that he reported missing following the kidnapping.

Vence reported the abduction on May 5, nearly 24 hours after it occurred, claiming that he had been unconscious for much of that time, according to the statement.

He told police that he was driving with Maleah and his 2-year-old son on the night of May 4 to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in north Houston to pick up the girl’s mother, Brittany Bowens, who was returning from a trip to Massachusetts, police said.

He said that on the way there, he heard a popping noise coming from his silver Nissan Altima that made him believe he had a flat tire, so he pulled over to check on it. When he got out of the car, he said that a blue pickup truck pulled up behind him and two men got out, police said during a news conference on May 5.

He told police that one of the men commented on Maleah’s appearance as the other hit him in the head, knocking him out, police said.

Vence told police that he kept going in and out of consciousness, but at one point realized that he was in the back of the pickup truck where there were actually three men and that he also saw Maleah and his son in the truck, police said.

He said that he regained consciousness the next day with only his son in Sugar Land, nearly 22 miles southwest of central Houston, and walked to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital where he received treatment and reported Maleah missing, police said.

Although he told police that his car was taken during the kidnapping, surveillance footage showed someone in the Nissan dropping Vence off at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital on May 5, police said.

Houston police are asking anyone with information about the case, their whereabouts of Maleah Davis or the person who sold the gas can to Vene to contact the department’s Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 May 2019

Alyssa Milano calls for a sex strike to protest Georgia abortion law

Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — The actress Alyssa Milano is calling for a sex strike to protest Georgia’s restrictive new “fetal heartbeat” law.

“Our reproductive rights are being erased,” the actress tweeted on Saturday. “Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME by not having sex until we get our bodily autonomy back. I’m calling for a @SexStrike. Pass it on.”

By Saturday afternoon, #SexStrike and “Alyssa Milano” were two of Twitter’s top 10 trending topics, and Milano’s tweet had close to 25,000 likes and nearly 9,000 retweets.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law this week one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. It effectively prohibits abortion once a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Like other abortion bans passed in recent months, the law faces legal challenges and could end up before the Supreme Court, where conservatives now hold a majority.

Sex strikes have been in activists’ arsenals at least since ancient Greece. In Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata, women boycott sex as a way to pressure men to the peace table to end the Peloponnesian War. More recently, in 2003, Leymah Gbowee organized a sex strike in Liberia to help end her country’s civil war. She was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

On social media, critics chimed in from both sides of the political divide.

Opponents of abortion rights sarcastically applauded Milano’s embrace of abstinence, which they argue can help prevent unwanted pregnancy, while some who share Milano’s pro-choice stance said the idea that sex is something that men want and women provide is old-fashioned and absurd.

Milano is not the only celebrity to use star power to protest the new law.

J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele, whose new HBO show “Lovecraft Country” will begin production in Georgia in several weeks, said that, while there were no immediate plans to move the show out of state, they would “stand shoulder to shoulder with the women of Georgia” and donate their fees to groups that are “leading the charge against this draconian law.”

“Governor Kemp’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Law is an unconstitutional effort to further restrict women and their health providers from making private medical decisions on their terms. Make no mistake, this is an attack aimed squarely and purposely at women,” the two said in a statement, adding that the donations would go to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia, the group led by Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams.

 Georgia offers generous tax credits to attract TV productions, and in recent years the state has won a lot of business from the film and TV industry. “Avengers: Endgame,”

“The Walking Dead” and the first season of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” were all filmed there.

After releasing his statement, Peele retweeted a 2018 tweet from Stacey Abrams’ in which she asked “all of our entertainment industry friends” not to boycott Georgia as part of a well-meaning political protest.

“The hard-working Georgians who serve on crews and make a living here are not to blame,” Abrams said at the time.

The Writers Guild of America East and West released a statement in March condemning the “draconian anti-choice measure” and saying that, if passed, it would “would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members.”

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Cory Booker says ‘we need a president that’s going to enforce antitrust laws’

Political News Cory Booker says 'we need a president that's going to enforce antitrust laws' https://linewsradio.com/cory-booker-says-we-need-a-president-thats-going-to-enforce-antitrust-laws/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Scott Olson/Getty Images(ORANGEBURG, S.C.) — Sen. Cory Booker, one of the 21 Democrats vying for the 2020 nomination, said Saturday that the United States has a problem with “corporate consolidation” in many industries, but that the job of the president is to “enforce antitrust laws,” not seek to break up big companies based on his or her personal beliefs.

Booker’s remarks come after Facebook’s co-founder and former chief executive Chris Hughes published an op-ed calling for the company to be broken up,

“I don’t care if it’s Facebook, the pharma industry, even the agricultural industry. We’ve had a problem in America with corporate consolidation that is having really ill effects,” the New Jersey senator said in an interview for “This Week.”

“It’s driving out the independent family farmers. It’s driving up prescription drug costs. And in the realm of technology, we’re seeing…one or two companies controlling a significant amount of the online advertising.” he continued.

ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl pressed Booker, asking, “So, should they be broken up?”

Booker said he believes in “process.”

“If I’m president of the United States, I will have a Justice Department that uses antitrust legislation to do the proper investigations and to hold industries accountable for corporate consolidation,” he said.

In early March, fellow 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for the break up of three big technology companies: Facebook, Amazon and Google.

“As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people,” the Massachusetts senator wrote. “To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies.”

Booker didn’t call for the same measures, saying that he doesn’t “think that a president should be running around, pointing at companies and…breaking them up without any kind of process here.”

“It’s not me and my own personal opinion about going after folks. That sounds more like a Donald Trump thing to say, like, ‘I’m going to break up you guys, I’m gonna break’ — no.”

But Booker emphasized that he was not comparing Warren to Trump, calling his Democratic opponent a friend.

“Well, that’s what she’s saying. She’s the one that’s saying that,” Karl said.

Booker said it was up to Warren to discuss her positions.

“I’m telling you right now, we do not need a president that is going to use their own personal beliefs and tell you which companies we should break up,” he said. “We need a president that’s going to enforce antitrust laws in this country, and I will be that person.”

More of Jonathan Karl’s interview with Sen. Cory Booker will air on “This Week” Sunday morning.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 May 2019

Trump wants Dems ‘to fight him on his turf’ but that’s not path to success: Booker

Political News Trump wants Dems 'to fight him on his turf' but that's not path to success: Booker https://linewsradio.com/trump-wants-dems-to-fight-him-on-his-turf-but-thats-not-path-to-success-booker/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Alex Wong/Getty Images(ORANGEBURG, S.C.) — Sen. Cory Booker pushed back against criticism that his 2020 presidential campaign’s message of unity and common ground isn’t resonating with Democratic voters.

“To be strong, you don’t have to be mean. To be tough, you don’t have to be cruel,” Booker, D-New Jersey, told ABC News Chief White Correspondent Jonathan Karl in an interview ahead of the opening of his new campaign office in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

According to Politico, the chairman of the Polk County Democrats in Des Moines said in April that Booker’s message was “compelling,” but “the Democratic base is angry as hell” and its primary voters “want to fight.”

Booker recalled a supporter telling him at a town hall that he wants to see the senator “punch Trump in the face.”

“I just smiled and said, ‘Hey man, that’s a felony, and us black guys, we don’t get away with that that often,” Booker joked. “The reality is Trump wants us to fight him on his turf and his term. He wants to pull our party down. We will not succeed by showing the worst of who we are, but (rather by showing) the best of who we are.”

The 2020 hopeful compared this moment to the civil rights movement, when activists fought for their rights without using violence.

“We’re here at South Carolina, (at) a historically black … university, where some of the greatest strength was shown through the civil rights activism where people didn’t raise a fist,” Booker said. “We didn’t beat ‘Bull’ Connor by bringing bigger dogs and more powerful hoses.”

Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor was an Alabama politician who vehemently opposed desegregation. He is remembered for using police dogs and fire hoses in his attempts to suppress the civil rights movement in the early 1960s.

“You beat demagogues by expanding the moral imagination of the country, bringing people together to overcome them,” Booker said.

More of Jonathan Karl’s interview with Sen. Cory Booker will air on “This Week” Sunday morning.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 May 2019

Federal judge strikes down Kentucky law to curtail second-trimester abortions

U.S. NEWS Federal judge strikes down Kentucky law to curtail second-trimester abortions https://linewsradio.com/federal-judge-strikes-down-kentucky-law-to-curtail-second-trimester-abortions/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock/CGinspiration(NEW YORK) — A federal judge on Friday struck down a Kentucky law that would have effectively ended abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. ruled that the 2018 law, which required women seeking an abortion at or beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy to first undergo a “fetal demise” injection, was “unconstitutional.” He also issued a permanent injunction against the law.

“The court finds that under the Act, all women seeking a second-trimester abortion at and after 15 weeks would have to endure a medically unnecessary and invasive procedure that may increase the duration of an otherwise one-day standard D&E abortion,” McKinley wrote.

A Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) abortion is the standard second-trimester method of abortion used nationally.

The law had been signed by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican. His office did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

The injection, which would kill the fetus, would not evacuate the fetus from the woman’s body, so an abortion would still be necessary. The law was challenged by the state’s only abortion clinic and the two doctors — Ashlee Bergin and Tanya Franklin — who practice there, on the day it was signed.

Moreover, Bergin and Franklin said they would “stop performing standard D&E abortions altogether due to ethical and legal concerns regarding compliance with the law, thereby rendering abortions unavailable in the Commonwealth of Kentucky starting at 15.0 weeks from the date of a woman’s last menstrual period,” according to the ruling.

“The Commonwealth’s legitimate interests do not allow the imposition of an additional required medical procedure—an invasive and risky procedure without medical necessity or benefit to the woman—prior to the standard D&E abortion. Here, Kentucky’s legitimate interests must give way to the woman’s right,” McKinley wrote.

Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who represented the abortion clinic and its doctors, praised the judge’s ruling.

“It is a huge victory for women and families in Kentucky,” Kolbi-Molinas told ABC News. “Not only can women get the care they need, because it would have ended abortion at 15 weeks, but [it said] that women who wanted an abortion, starting at 15 weeks, would have had to go through unnecessary, painful, and, in some cases, experimental medical procedures just to get an abortion.”

Despite a growing number of laws limiting abortion in several U.S. states, Kolbi-Molinas said she was confident that McKinley’s ruling would not be overturned.

“The only court of appeals that has addressed one of these [fetal demise injection] cases so far has found it unconstitutional and we’re optimistic that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals would do the same,” she said.

In practical terms, the law had been blocked by a consent decree, so there has been no change for women seeking to have an abortion in Kentucky throughout the past year.

“There is no change. Abortion remains safe and legal in Kentucky,” Kolbi-Molinas said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 May 2019

Student injured in shooting at University of North Carolina at Charlotte to graduate Saturday

U.S. NEWS Student injured in shooting at University of North Carolina at Charlotte to graduate Saturday https://linewsradio.com/student-injured-in-shooting-at-university-of-north-carolina-at-charlotte-to-graduate-saturday/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Sean Rayford/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — A student who was injured during the deadly classroom shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte earlier this month will be walking down the aisle to receive her diploma on Saturday.

Emily Houpt, 23, was injured when a fellow student at the school stormed a classroom on April 30 and opened fire on those inside. She’s the only one of the four students injured in the shooting to receive her diploma during the school’s graduation ceremonies this weekend. The other wounded students are Drew Pescaro, 19, Rami Al-Ramadhan, 20, and Sean DeHart, 20.

Houpt will be receiving a degree in international affairs, according to ABC News affiliate WSOC-TV.

Ellis “Reed” Parlier, 19, and Riley Howell, 21, the two students killed by the gunman, received degrees in memoriam during a ceremony on Friday. According to WSOC, Howell was an environmental studies major who transferred to the school in 2018 and Parlier, who started school in 2017, was planning to major in computer science with the ultimate goal of becoming a game developer.

About 5,000 students will be graduating this weekend, WSOC reported. During Friday night’s ceremony, Chancellor Philip Dubois held a moment of silence and encouraged others to remain strong during a time of great pain.

“At the time, I ask that you join me in a moment of silence in memory of Riley and Reed and in thanks for the lives of our four injured students and countless others who were spared because of their sacrifice,” Dubois said, according to WSOC. “We, as Niner Nation, persevered.”

In an essay written by Adam Johnson, the anthropology professor whose class was involved in the shooting, he said that the shooting took place early in the evening of April 30 while a group in the class was conducting a video presentation.

“We get about seven minutes into the video and without warning, earsplitting bangs ring throughout the room, off the glass walls, creating a terrible reverberation,” he wrote.

The shooter had been enrolled in Johnson’s class, he wrote, saying that while he was “engaged” in the class early in the semester, he soon stopped coming to class and eventually withdrew. It’s still unclear if there was a motive behind the gunfire.

Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department hailed Howell as a “hero” for charging at the gunman and taking him “off his feet … allowing officers to step in and apprehend him.”

He said that without Howell, “the assailant may not have been disarmed.”

“Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process, but his sacrifice saved lives,” Putney said.

Howell, who was taking ROTC courses at the university, was buried with military honors earlier this week.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 May 2019

Hawaii: Island Transformed One Year Later

U.S. NEWS Hawaii: Island Transformed One Year Later https://linewsradio.com/hawaii-island-transformed-one-year-later/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Don Smith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — One year after the Kilauea Volcano began a months-long eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island, many residents are still struggling to return to normal.

On May 3rd, 2018, the volcano began an eruption that would last more than 100 days, sending lava billowing out of the ground and out toward the Pacific Ocean — enveloping homes and roads and anything else that crossed its path.

Volcanic smog, known as “vog,” emitted by the fissures threatened nearby residents with dangerous sulfur dioxide. Explosions and the release of giant ash plumes prompting evacuations of homes.

Last Dec. 5, officials announced that 90 days had passed without surface lava activity on Kilauea – meaning it had reached the milestone set by the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program to certify the end of continuous volcanic activity. At last, the recovery could begin.

In total, the lava flow destroyed more than 700 homes, and displaced more than 2,000 people. There were no deaths, but some were injured by debris, including Darryl Clinton, whose leg was shattered after lava hit his shin. A tour boat was also hit by a lava bomb, a large rock tossed through the air in a volcanic explosion, injuring 23 people at the site where the lava from the volcano was spilling into the ocean.

Nancy Seifers, a resident of the Kapaho neighborhood that was inundated by the flow of lava, was one of a few dozen people in the area who did not lose her home. But while her home is standing, it is unlivable, and there is no water or electricity in the area, she said.

When officials reopened the neighborhood, the roads were covered in lava and the only way Seifers could access her property was to charter a helicopter, at a cost of up to $450, or brave a 90-minute hike over hardened lava.

Seifers adding that she and her neighbors who have homes still standing have chipped in more than $7,000 to build a temporary road on private property so they can access more easily access their homes.

“It’s been a blessing to be able to go back in there, but without services or help, we can’t all really return,” Seifers told ABC News. Seifers did not have insurance and, at the age of 70, she has had to return to work as an educator in order to put a roof over her head.

She says she loves the area and wants to return to her home one day.

Susan Kim had just purchased a home in Kapoho Vacation Land in February, and by June, it was consumed by lava. She says she knows it was a risk buying property in the area, but “everywhere you go on the Big Island is different and it’s something about the air, the clouds, the climate that is very special there.” A lot of the community wants to rebuild, but many people will want to take a buyout if one is offered. Kim said.

Meanwhile, the county is working to complete temporary road construction on Highway 132 by early October, according to Alexandra Slous, the Kilauea disaster recovery program coordinator.

The current estimate for damage to infrastructure, including roads, water-lines, and parks, is more than $236 million, and there is a large economic impact as well from the loss of farms, small business decreased revenues and closures, and decreased tourism revenue.

The county expects to have a long-term recovery framework laid out by the end of 2019, said Slous.

The county secured $22 million from Hawaii’s governor and $60 million in state legislature funds, as well as more than $2 million in federal grants to kick-start the recovery process. But residents say they are still waiting to see those funds be put into action.

Meanwhile, while most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has now reopened, the summit overlook remains closed because of damage from thousands of earthquakes, including a 6.9 magnitude quake during the first week of the eruption.

Scientists are still on the ground studying the months-long event, and will be processing data from it collected from this event for years to come, they say. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey continue to go into the field, monitoring the ground cracks and checking for any signs of change, as well as monitoring gas emissions, which remain below detectable limits at this time.

More than one billion cubic yards of lava flowed during the event, creating 875 acres of new land – larger than Central Park in New York.

But while the volcano is currently in a “quiet” stage, geologists say it remains very much an active volcano and note that it has been erupting for more than 30 years.

“Just because it’s quiet now, we must not lose site of the fact that Kilauea is an active volcano and it will erupt again,” said Janet Babb, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 May 2019

Feds accuse Fugees rapper, fugitive businessman of allegedly funneling funds for 2012 presidential campaign

U.S. NEWS Feds accuse Fugees rapper, fugitive businessman of allegedly funneling funds for 2012 presidential campaign https://linewsradio.com/feds-accuse-fugees-rapper-fugitive-businessman-of-allegedly-funneling-funds-for-2012-presidential-campaign/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Federal prosecutors have indicted a fugitive Malaysian businessman and a founding member of 90s hip-hop group the Fugees for allegedly funneling over a million dollars into campaign accounts to support then-President Barrack Obama’s re-election, according to a federal indictment, the latest in a series of cases tied to a wide-ranging global financial and money laundering scandal.

The charges against fugitive businessman Jho Taek Low and onetime Fugees member Prakazrel “Pras” Michel stem from a broad federal effort to track billions of dollars Low has already been accused of stealing from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund – a portion of which has allegedly been used to attempt to influence U.S. government officials.

According to the new indictment, the men moved $21.6 million from foreign accounts into U.S. companies to help them disguise the source of political contributions, which cannot legally come from foreign donors. Michel is alleged to have recruited 20 straw donors, who were his friends and associates, to make more than $1 million in contributions to political accounts supporting Obama’s re-election and then attempted to gain access to the president and to White House events.

Neither Obama nor his campaign team have been accused wrongdoing or of being aware of any of the alleged illegal activity. The indictment also notes that Low was denied access to a White House event. Obama was not mentioned by name in the court documents. But the candidate who received the contributions is described as “Candidate A and his administration,” and the document makes reference to “Candidate A” being at the White House, which was occupied by Obama at the time.

Low and Michel were indicted Friday by prosecutors by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for conspiracy to defraud the country, filing false statements and two counts of making a false entry in a record.

Both men have, through attorneys, disputed the allegations against them.

“Mr. Low is innocent — and he is presumed innocent under U.S. law,” said a spokesperson for Low, through his attorneys, who have posted his response on a public website. “The allegations against Mr. Low have no basis in fact: Mr. Low has never made any campaign contributions directly or indirectly in the U.S. and he unequivocally denies any involvement in or knowledge of the alleged activities.”

Michel’s attorney, Barry J. Pollack, wrote in an email to ABC News that his client “is extremely disappointed that so many years after the fact the government would bring charges related to 2012 campaign contributions.”

“Mr. Michel is innocent of these charges and looks forward to having the case heard by a jury,” Pollack said.

The case lays out in detail the alleged violations of campaign laws that prohibit foreign donors from contributing to American political campaigns and forbid Americans from serving as conduits to disguise the true source of those donations. The government has accused Michel of orchestrating such an operation. Michel allegedly instructed straw donors to make donations “in their own names, rather than in the names of the true source of the funds,” according to court documents.

Meanwhile, as Michel allegedly set up straw donors to attend fundraisers for “Candidate A” that “required a contribution of at least $40,000,” he distributed Low’s money by writing checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, court documents showed. There was a time in October 2012 when Michel was “low in cash like 500 bucks low” and emailed his financial adviser to wire him money, according to court documents.

While the case focuses on contributions to Obama, it could have broader political implications for Republicans should Michel choose to seek a cooperation agreement. Both Michel and Low have ties to Elliott Broidy, a former key political fundraiser for the Republican National Committee and President Trump. Low has been accused of seeking the help of Individual A who has been widely reported to be Broidy in lobbying the Trump administration to help stifle a wide-ranging federal investigation into his financial activities, according to a filing in a separate court case. Broidy is not named in that filing, but has been widely identified as individual one.

A spokesman for Broidy reached Saturday declined to comment. An attorney for Broidy, Christopher Clark, told The Washington Post in August that Broidy “has never agreed to work for, been retained by nor been compensated by any foreign government for any interaction with the United States Government, ever. Any implication to the contrary is a lie.”

The FBI raided Broidy’s Los Angeles office last July, according to a recent report by ProPublica that cited search warrants. The search warrant documents listed associates of Michel’s. Broidy was not charged.

Although Low’s whereabouts are still unknown, this is just the latest in a series of charges filed against him by federal prosecutors, all of which place him at the center of an alleged massive and far-reaching global financial scandal. Low was indicted in November 2018 by prosecutors with the Eastern District of New York on allegations he attempted to launder billions of dollars from the investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Michel’s name surfaced when those charges were announced because of his alleged work for Low, but he was not charged in that case.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 May 2019

Tanker collision sends thousands of gallons of gas product leaking into Houston shipping channel

U.S. NEWS Tanker collision sends thousands of gallons of gas product leaking into Houston shipping channel https://linewsradio.com/tanker-collision-sends-thousands-of-gallons-of-gas-product-leaking-into-houston-shipping-channel/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

KTRK(BAYPORT, Texas) — A collision between a massive tanker and two oil barges has resulted in as much as tens of thousands of gallons of a gasoline product leaking into a shipping channel near Houston.

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the accident, which took place about 3:30 p.m. local time, in the Houston Ship Channel, near Bayport, Texas. A 755-foot tanker collided with a tug pushing two barges filled with 25,000 gallons of reformate each.

The hull of the tanker punctured two of the barges’ four storage tanks, Jim Guidry, executive Vice President of Kirby Corporation, which owns the barges, said at a Saturday morning press conference, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“The bow of the ship went through the port tank into the starboard tank, so there was no way to secure the source of the leak,” Guidry said, according to the newspaper “Those two tanks were open to the sea.”

Reformate is an intermediate stage in the production of gasoline and is colorless, flammable and toxic to marine life.

Air monitoring tests were completed overnight and results released on Saturday morning found there was no danger to the public found, according to Houston ABC station KTRK. .

Officials said that 26 teams of air monitors have taken over 1300 samples. All samples have not exceeded actionable levels.

Reformate is an intermediate stage in the production of gasoline and is colorless, flammable and toxic to marine life.

It is still unclear how much of the product has leaked into the water, officials said.

Eyewitnesses said they could see an oily sheen on the water and the smell was very strong.

“We know the air is coming this way. The flow is coming this way. We are definitely going to monitor everything,” Mayor Jeff Wagner, of Pasadena, Texas told KTRK.

One of the barges capsized, while the other was severely damaged, according to the Coast Guard. Video from on scene showed one barge nearly sliced in half as a result of the collision.

There were no reported injuries.

Air Station Houston sent a helicopter and ship to assess the situation, according to the USCG.

“It’s a light chemical and it floats on the water, which allows it to evaporate,” Galveston Bay Foundation CEO Bob Stokes told KTRK. “Unlike other chemicals, it doesn’t sink to the bottom, but it still poses risks to marine life.”

Houston’s Department of Health said in a statement that due to wind conditions it did not expect any adverse effects in the city itself.

The Coast Guard said late Friday of the air monitoring that “if any readings above actionable levels are detected, advisories will be provided to local emergency operations centers.” There have been no evacuation orders given.

The tanker was identified as the Genesis River, a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier.

The shipping channel was closed in the area of the accident.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 May 2019

Potential 2020 candidate Montana Gov. Steve Bullock teases ‘big announcement’

Political News Potential 2020 candidate Montana Gov. Steve Bullock teases 'big announcement' https://linewsradio.com/potential-2020-candidate-montana-gov-steve-bullock-teases-big-announcement/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

William Campbell-Corbis via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat many suspect will soon jump into the crowded 2020 candidate field, teased a “big announcement” in a video on Twitter Saturday.

The governor, who was elected in 2012, leads a state President Donald Trump won by 20 points in the 2016 presidential election. Bullock won his re-election the same year despite the state’s support for Trump — a theme highlighted in the video.

“The only Democratic contender who won a Trump state will make a big announcement,” according to the video, with large, white letters written over black-and-white photos of Bullock.

At one point in the video’s mash-up of interviews the governor has done over the past year, NBC’s Chuck Todd tells Bullock he’s “this, like, weird creature from outer space.” Later, the video features MSNBC’s Willie Geist listing off the two-term governor’s record: “A Democratic governor in that state who’s pro-choice, you’re for marriage equality, you’ve expanded Medicaid, you’ve expanded spending on education, you’ve protected the environment from corporate interests.”

Bullock would be at least the 24th person to become a contender for the Democratic party nomination, joining a field that includes other candidates from Trump-supporting states such as Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.

The most recent candidate to enter the race was Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.

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Posted On 11 May 2019