U.N.C. Charlotte shooting
A gunman opened fire late Tuesday afternoon at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, killing two students and injuring four others. It was the last day of class for the students, but graduation will continue as planned. According to Philip L. Dubois, U.N.C.’s chancellor, the injured students are expected to survive, with one released from the hospital and three still being treated as of Wednesday. The suspect has been identified as Trystan Andrew Terrell, yet his motive is still unknown. He has been arrested and is being charged with murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill, and possessing and discharging a firearm on educational property. A campus vigil was held for the victims Wednesday evening, with about 7,500 people in attendance.
Image taken by "chucka_nc" via flikr
Attorney General Barr testifies
Attorney General William P. Barr testified to Congress on Wednesday, speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, written by special counsel Robert Mueller. A letter from Mueller to Barr, in addition to the attorney general's handling of the Mueller investigation became the main topics of the hearing.
The letter, dated March 27, expressed concern over how Mueller's findings were being represented by the attorney general.
Democrats grilled Barr on statements he made about the investigation (especially a summary submitted to Congress before the redacted version was released), accused Barr of lying and protecting President Donald Trump, and brought up how Mueller’s letter claimed Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the team’s findings. Republicans defended Barr and his actions and also accused the Obama administration of working to undermine Trump, in addition to casting the investigation as politically motivated. Barr then decided Thursday to cancel his appearance with the House Judiciary Committee, citing disagreement about methods of questioning -- setting the stage for more conflict between the executive branch and Democratic members of Congress.
Image from the Department of Justice
As of April 26, 704 cases of measles have been reported in 22 states since Jan. 1, according to the Center of Disease Control, including cases in Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas and others. In 2000, the Pan American Health Organization announced that widespread vaccination efforts had “effectively eliminated” the measles disease in the U.S. The previous record for most measles cases since 1994 was 667 recorded cases for the entire year of 2014. The measles outbreak can be contributed to an increase of travelers infected with the disease to the U.S., and the increased number of communities in the U.S. with unvaccinated children, the majority of those affected being unvaccinated. These outbreaks could cost state and federal government millions of dollars to contain and treat. Earlier this month, New York made it mandatory for people to get a measles vaccine, and other states are considering following suit.
Illustration by Alissa Eckert from the CDC
Russian "Spy" Whale
A tame beluga whale wearing a harness with a GoPro camera attachment (though found without a camera) marked “Equipment St. Petersburg” was found by Norwegian fishermen when it approached their boat. Many locals speculate that the whale was being trained by the Russian navy. The Russians have denied these claims. There is a Russian naval base in Murmansk, which is roughly 258 miles away from where the whale was found. This would not be the first time a country has experimented with militarizing marine mammals, as both the U.S. and Russia have also trained dolphins to serve in military roles.
Pictured: A bottlenose dolphin deployed by the U.S. Navy to help clear mines during the Iraq War
Image by Brien Aho via the U.S. Navy
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to resign
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein submitted a resignation letter notifying President Donald Trump that he is planning to leave his job on May 11. This was no surprise, as many were anticipating Rosenstein’s departure since the beginning of the year. The date had been pushed back numerous times because of delays in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation . To say the least, many found Rosenstein’s time as the No. 2 Justice Department official eventful and controversial, from President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James B. Comey in May 2017 to Attorney General William P. Barr’s conclusion that there was lack of evidence for an obstruction-of-justice case against the president.
Image from Department of Justice
ISIS leader reappears
After last being seen in 2014, a man who claims to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group, appeared in what seems to be just the second video that has been released of him. Baghdadi has long been presumed dead because many of his top generals were killed in U.S.-led airstrikes. He praised the recent attacks in Sri Lanka and said that while their “caliphate” may have been destroyed, ISIS will continue to fight.
chucka_nc, Department of Justice, CDC, U.S. Navy, Wikimedia Commons