AP News in Brief 02-16-19

  • Police officers armed with rifles gather at the scene where an active shooter was reported in Aurora, Ill., Friday. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

  • Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at Miraflores presidential palace, where a painting of independence hero Simon Bolivar hangs, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Officials: 1 dead, 4 police wounded in Illinois shooting

AURORA, Ill. — At least one person was killed and four police officers were wounded when a shooter opened fire at an industrial park in Aurora, Illinois, officials said Friday.

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Chris Nelson, spokesman for the Kane County coroner’s office, confirmed one person was killed. City spokesman Clayton Muhammad said four officers were wounded and in stable condition, but did not say if they were shot.

Muhammad also told ABC7 that the suspect had been “neutralized.” He did not elaborate.

The Kane County coroner was at the scene.

Live TV reports showed dozens of first responder vehicles outside a building housing the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, a city of about 200,000 people about 40 miles west of Chicago.

Trump declares national emergency to get $8 billion for wall

WASHINGTON — Defiant in the face of a stinging budget defeat, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday to get more federal dollars for his long-promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, relying on a broad interpretation of his powers that was certain to trigger stiff legal challenges.

Bypassing Congress, which approved far less money for his proposed wall than he had sought, Trump said he will use executive action to siphon billions of dollars from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts for the wall. The move drew immediate bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill and is expected to face rounds of legal challenges.

Trump made the announcement from the Rose Garden, as he claimed illegal immigration was “an invasion of our country.”

In a comment that will surely be used to challenge the legal underpinnings of his emergency declaration, Trump hinted at the political realities behind his action. “I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” he said. “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”

Trump’s move followed a rare show of bipartisanship when lawmakers voted Thursday to fund large swaths of the government and avoid a repeat of this winter’s debilitating five-week government shutdown. Trump’s insistence on wall funding has been a flashpoint in his negotiations with Congress for more than two years, as has the resistance of lawmakers in both parties to meeting the president’s request. West Wing aides acknowledged there was insufficient support among Republicans to sustain another shutdown fight, leading Trump to decide to test the limits of his presidential powers.

US military aircraft to deliver more aid to Venezuela border

CARACAS, Venezuela — The Trump administration is sending another large shipment of humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan border in Colombia, for the first time using U.S. military aircraft as it increases pressure on Nicolas Maduro to give up power, according to a State Department email sent to Congress.

The announcement of additional aid comes as the Trump administration on Friday added Venezuela’s oil boss and key intelligence officers to a long list of Maduro loyalists under U.S. financial sanctions.

The 250 tons of food supplies, hygiene kits and nutritional supplements will begin arriving Saturday to the border city of Cucuta, where tons of boxes of emergency aid stamped with the U.S. flag are already warehoused awaiting delivery into Venezuela.

The email sent Friday was provided to The Associated Press by a congressional aide who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The aid came at the request of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who the U.S. and dozens of other countries have recognized as Venezuela’s rightful leader after President Nicolas Maduro last month was sworn in for a second term widely seen as illegitimate.

Chicago police arrest 2 black suspects in attack on Smollett

CHICAGO — The investigation into black actor Jussie Smollett’s account of being beaten in a racist, anti-gay attack took a sharp turn Friday when police announced the arrest of two black men they believe assaulted the “Empire” cast member.

At least one of the men worked on the TV show, police said.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said authorities had probable cause to believe the suspects committed assault and battery against Smollett. But they had not been charged as of Friday afternoon.

Guglielmi would not comment on a possible motive.

Smollett, who is gay, has said two masked men shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country!” beat him and looped a rope around his neck early on Jan. 29 before running away. He said they also poured some kind of chemical on him.

NJ attorney general subpoenas Trump’s inaugural committee

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee received a sweeping request for financial records this week from prosecutors in New Jersey, the second subpoena the group has received in as many weeks as its fundraising and spending draws mounting scrutiny.

The committee said Friday that it is in contact with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which issued the request for documents on Monday as part of a civil inquiry into how the committee raised and spent $107 million on inaugural events.

The inaugural committee has told the AP its finances were independently audited and that all funds were spent in accordance with the law. Leland Moore, a spokesman for New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, declined to comment.

The inquiry marks the latest in a series of investigations into Trump’s campaign and presidency. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is investigating whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation. In a separate case, federal prosecutors in New York have alleged that Trump directed his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to make illegal hush-money payments to two women in a bid to quash potential sex scandals during the 2016 presidential campaign.

From wire sources

Trump denies wrongdoing and has called Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt.” He also has said he was not involved in the operations of the inaugural committee.

‘Everybody suffers too much:’ Nigeria heads to the polls

KANO, Nigeria — As Nigerians prepared to vote for president on Saturday, Sister Meg Odeh looked up from a selection of pineapples laid out at a fume-choked roadside market and considered the fate of her country. She ticked off the sprawling problems facing Africa’s most populous nation: insecurity, poverty, corruption.

“I’m just praying for something good to happen to our people,” the Roman Catholic nun said with a sigh.

More than 84 million voters in this country of some 190 million will head to the polls in what is seen as a close and heated race between 76-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari and top challenger Atiku Abubakar, a billionaire former vice president. Both have pledged to work for a peaceful election even as their supporters, including high-level officials, have caused alarm with vivid warnings against foreign interference and allegations of rigging.

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“We love our country and we need our country to be safe from all the violence … and all the nonsense that takes place during election time,” worshipper Amin Muhammad Khalif said as he emerged Friday from prayers in Kano, Nigeria’s second-largest city in a nation largely evenly split between Muslims and Christians.

When Buhari came to power in 2015 he made history with the first defeat of an incumbent president in an election hailed as one of the most transparent and untroubled ever in Nigeria, which has seen deadly post-vote violence in the past.

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