Epstein death shifts federal focus to possible conspirators
NEW YORK — In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, federal prosecutors in New York have shifted their focus to possible charges against anyone who assisted or enabled him in what authorities say was his rampant sexual abuse of underage girls.
Two days after the wealthy financier’s death in the New York jail where he was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, Attorney General William Barr warned on Monday that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy.”
“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit,” Barr said at a law enforcement conference in New Orleans. “The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.”
Authorities are most likely turning their attention to the team of recruiters and employees who, according to police reports, knew about Epstein’s penchant for underage girls and lined up victims for him. The Associated Press reviewed hundreds of pages of police reports, FBI records and court documents that show Epstein relied on an entire staff of associates to arrange massages that led to sex acts.
If any Epstein assistants hoped to avoid charges by testifying against him, that expectation has been upended by his suicide.
Canada police: 2 teen fugitives took their own lives
TORONTO — Canadian police said Monday they believe two teenage fugitives suspected of killing a North Carolina woman and her Australian boyfriend as well as another man took their own lives amid a nationwide manhunt.
The Manitoba Medical Examiner completed the autopsies and confirmed that two bodies found last week in dense bush in northern Manitoba were indeed 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky. A police statement said their deaths appeared to be suicide.
A manhunt for the pair had spread across three provinces and included the Canadian military. The suspects had not been seen since the burned-out car was found on July 22.
McLeod and Schmegelsky were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia lecturer whose body was found July 19 along a highway in British Columbia.
They were also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 300 miles (500 kilometers) from where Dyck was killed.
Parts of South and Midwest grapple with dangerous heat wave
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Forecasters are warning about days of scorching, dangerous heat gripping a wide swath of the U.S. South and Midwest, where the heat index on Monday eclipsed 120 degrees (48.9 Celsius) in one town and climbed nearly that high in others.
With temperatures around 100 degrees (37 Celsius) at midday and “feels like” temperatures soaring even higher, parts of 13 states were under heat advisories, from Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the South to Missouri and Illinois in the Midwest, the National Weather Service reported.
“It feels like hell is what it feels like,” said Junae Brooks, who runs Junae’s Grocery in Holly Bluff, Mississippi. Around her, many of her customers kept cool with wet rags around their necks or by wearing straw hats.
Some of the most oppressive conditions were in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
The heat index soared to 121 degrees (49.4 Celsius) by late afternoon in Clarksdale, Mississippi; and to 119 degrees (48.3 Celsius) in West Memphis, Arkansas, the weather service reported. Similar readings were expected in eastern Oklahoma.
New rules to deny green cards to many legal immigrants
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced Monday it is moving forward with one of its most aggressive steps yet to restrict legal immigration: Denying green cards to many migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.
Federal law already requires those seeking to become permanent residents or gain legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S. — a “public charge,” in government speak —but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.
It’s part of a dramatic overhaul of the nation’s immigration system that the administration has been working to put in place, despite legal pushback. While most attention has focused on President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, including recent raids in Mississippi and the continued separation of migrant parents from their children, the new rules target people who entered the United States legally and are seeking permanent status.
Trump is trying to move the U.S. toward a system that focuses on immigrants’ skills instead of emphasizing the reunification of families.
Under the new rules, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now weigh whether applicants have received public assistance along with other factors such as education, income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.
Feds: Friend of Ohio gunman bought body armor, ammo magazine
A longtime friend of the Dayton gunman bought the body armor, a 100-round magazine and a key part of the gun used in the attack, but there’s no indication the man knew his friend was planning a massacre, federal agents said Monday.
Ethan Kollie told investigators that he also helped Connor Betts assemble the AR-15-style weapon about 10 weeks ago, according to a court document.
Kollie first spoke with investigators just hours after the assault and later said he bought the body armor, the magazine and the rifle’s upper receiver and kept the equipment at his apartment so Betts’ parents would not find it, the court filing said.
Federal investigators emphasized that there was no evidence that Kollie knew how Betts would use the equipment or that Kollie intentionally took part in the planning.
The accusations came as prosecutors unsealed charges against Kollie that were unrelated to the Aug. 4 shooting. Early that day, Betts opened fire in a popular entertainment district, killing his sister and eight others. Police killed Betts within 30 seconds outside a crowded bar, and authorities have said hundreds more people may have died if Betts had gotten inside.
Dow slumps nearly 400 points as trade war anxiety lingers
Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street Monday, knocking nearly 400 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The benchmark S&P 500 had its worst day in a week as the sell-off put the market deeper into the red for August. The selling was widespread, with technology companies and banks accounting for a big share of the decline.
Investors sought safety in U.S. government bonds, sending their yields tumbling. The price for gold, another traditional safe-haven asset, closed higher.
The costly trade war between the U.S. and China has rattled markets this month. An escalation in tensions between the world’s largest economies has stoked worries that the long-running trade conflict will undercut an already slowing global economy.
“Trade and the concern that as this escalates it continues to wear on confidence to a point that this actually causes a recession, that’s what people are wrestling with,” said Ben Phillips, chief investment officer at EventShares.
US government weakens application of Endangered Species Act
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration moved on Monday to weaken how it applies the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act, ordering changes that critics said will speed the loss of animals and plants at a time of record global extinctions .
The action, which expands the administration’s rewrite of U.S. environmental laws, is the latest that targets protections, including for water, air and public lands. Two states — California and Massachusetts, frequent foes of President Donald Trump’s environmental rollbacks — promised lawsuits to try to block the changes in the law. So did some conservation groups.
Pushing back against the criticism, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and other administration officials contend the changes improve efficiency of oversight while continuing to protect rare species.
“The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal — recovery of our rarest species,” he said in a statement. “An effectively administered Act ensures more resources can go where they will do the most good: on-the-ground conservation.”
Under the enforcement changes, officials for the first time will be able to publicly attach a cost to saving an animal or plant. Blanket protections for creatures newly listed as threatened will be removed. Among several other changes, the action could allow the government to disregard the possible impact of climate change, which conservation groups call a major and growing threat to wildlife.
5 Russian nuclear engineers buried after rocket explosion
MOSCOW — Thousands of Russians attended the funerals Monday of five Russian nuclear engineers killed by an explosion as they tested a new rocket engine, a tragedy that fueled radiation fears and raised new questions about a secretive weapons program.
The engineers, who died Thursday, were laid to rest Monday in Sarov, which hosts Russia’s main nuclear weapons research center, where they worked. Flags flew at half-staff in the city, located 370 kilometers (230 miles) east of Moscow, which has served as a base for Russia’s nuclear weapons program since the late 1940s. The coffins were displayed at Sarov’s main square before being driven to a cemetery.
The Defense Ministry initially reported that the explosion at the navy’s testing range near the village of Nyonoksa in the northwestern Arkhangelsk region killed two people and injured six others. The state-controlled Rosatom nuclear corporation then said over the weekend that the blast also killed five of its workers and injured three others. It’s not clear what the final toll is.
The company said the victims were on a sea platform testing a rocket engine and were thrown into the sea by explosion.
Rosatom director Alexei Likhachev praised the victims as “true heroes” and “pride of our country.”
Why many employees feel devalued even in booming job market
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — For more than two decades, Ken White worked at a credit card processor. It was a good job, but it fell victim to the Great Recession.
Today, at 56, White does similar work managing technology projects for a regional bank. And yet everything feels different. He is a contractor for a technology services firm that assigns him to the bank. He is paid less, and the bonuses and stock awards he once earned as a full-fledged employee are long gone.
For all the U.S. economy’s robust job growth, White and many people like him don’t feel much like beneficiaries of what is now the longest expansion on record. The kinds of jobs they once enjoyed — permanent positions, with stability, bonuses, pensions, benefits and opportunities to move up — are now rarer.
“It’s not as easy as it was,” White says.
White’s evolution from employee to contractor is emblematic of a trend in the American workplace a full decade after the recession ended: The economy keeps growing. Unemployment is at a half-century low. Yet many people feel their jobs have been devalued by employers that increasingly assign a higher priority to shareholders and customers.
Missing dentures found stuck in throat 8 days after surgery
Here’s why it’s best to remove false teeth before surgery: You just might swallow them.
A medical journal is reporting the case of a 72-year-old British man whose partial dentures apparently got stuck in his throat during surgery and weren’t discovered for eight days.
The man went to the emergency room because he was having a hard time swallowing and was coughing up blood. Doctors ordered a chest X-ray, diagnosed him with pneumonia and sent him home with antibiotics and steroids. It took another hospital visit before another X-ray revealed the problem: His dentures — a metal roof plate and three false teeth — lodged at the top of this throat.
The man thought his dentures were lost while he was in the hospital for minor surgery.
How it happened isn’t exactly clear, but a half-dozen previous cases have been documented of dentures going astray as surgical patients were put to sleep.