The Journal Gazette
Saturday, June 27, 2020 1:00 am


Mexico City police chief hurt, 3 killed in attack

Associated Press

MEXICO CITY – A high-sided construction truck and a white SUV pulled into the path of Mexico City's police chief just as dawn was breaking Friday on the capital's most iconic boulevard and assailants opened fire with .50-caliber sniper rifles and grenades on his armored vehicle.

The cinematic ambush involving two-dozen gunmen left Chief Omar García Harfuch wounded with three bullet impacts and shrapnel. Two members of his security detail were killed, as was a woman who happened to be driving by.

The high-powered armament and brazenness of the attack suggested the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and hours after the attack, García blamed them via Twitter from the hospital.

Iraq makes arrests in anti-US attacks

Iraqi security forces arrested over a dozen men suspected of a spate of rocket attacks against the U.S. presence in Iraq, the Iraqi military said Friday – the strongest action to date by the new government in Baghdad against perpetrators suspected of ties to Iran.

The arrests marked a bold move by the government to crack down on groups that have long been a source of tension for U.S.-Iraq relations. Two senior Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 14 men who were arrested had ties to an Iran-backed militia group.

A series of rockets have struck close to U.S. installations inside the Green Zone and an Iraqi army base near to the airport in the capital since Baghdad embarked on strategic talks with Washington on June 11.

The U.S. has blamed Iran-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah for orchestrating attacks against its embassy and American troops inside Iraqi bases, and criticized the Iraqi government for not identifying and arresting the culprits.

Man shoots, kills 2 co-workers, self

A 48-year-old man who police said fatally shot death two co-workers and critically wounded another Friday morning at a Springfield, Illinois, warehouse died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, the city's police chief said.

Michael L. Collins of Springfield, two other men and a woman all arrived for work about 7 a.m. Friday in the welding area of the Bunn-O-Matic facility, Springfield Chief Kenny Winslow said at a news conference. The shooting happened shortly after 11 a.m., police said.

The sheriff of nearby Morgan County called the chief's office later to say the suspect's body had been found in his car, a victim of a gunshot wound, Winslow said.

Deal reached on nuclear shipments

Nevada ended a two-year legal battle Friday with the U.S. Energy Department over the secret shipment of weapons-grade plutonium to a site near Las Vegas.

The state's lawyers said they would drop their lawsuit after the federal government agreed to remove the highly radioactive material already trucked there and abandon any future plans to send more.

Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement it was a significant victory in the effort to “keep weapons grade material out of our state.”

Nevada said the clandestine shipment of one-half metric ton of the plutonium over its objections from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina in 2018 amounted to a “secret plutonium smuggling operation.” The U.S. government argued secrecy was necessitated by national security concerns.

Judge: Release detained families

A federal judge in Houston on Friday ordered the release of children held with their parents in U.S. immigration jails and denounced the Trump administration's prolonged detention of families during the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee's order applies to children held for more than 20 days at three family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Some have been detained since last year.

Citing the recent spread of the virus in two of the three facilities, Gee set a deadline of July 17 for children to either be released with their parents or sent to family sponsors. The family detention centers “are 'on fire' and there is no more time for half measures,” she wrote.

Glasgow stabbing hurts 6; man slain

A male suspect stabbed and wounded a police officer before he was shot dead in Glasgow on Friday. Authorities are not treating the incident that left five other men wounded as terrorism, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

The suspect died at a Glasgow hotel that appeared to be largely housing asylum-seekers and refugees. The 42-year-old police officer stabbed during the incident at a hotel on Friday was in a critical but stable condition. Five men between the ages of 17 and 53 also were hospitalized.

US limits visas on Chinese officials

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. is imposing visa restrictions on Chinese Communist Party officials he blamed for “eviscerating” the freedoms of Hong Kong citizens but didn't identify those targeted.

Meanwhile, an unusually large group of independent U.N. human rights experts Friday urged the international community to “take all appropriate measures” to monitor China and “act collectively and decisively” to ensure its government respects human rights.

Dozens of experts, who work on various mandates from the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council, raised a litany of concerns, including Beijing's treatment of ethnic minorities in Tibet and the western Xinjiang region, allegations of excessive force against protesters and reports of retaliation against people who spoke out about the coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese diplomatic mission in Geneva, on its website, accused the experts of “trespassing their mandates” and said “China categorically rejects and strongly condemns the statement.”

Limit on religious gatherings blocked

A federal judge on Friday blocked New York state from enforcing coronavirus restrictions limiting indoor religious gatherings to 25% capacity when other types of gatherings are limited to 50%.

The plaintiffs, two Catholic priests from upstate New York and three Orthodox Jewish congregants from Brooklyn, argued that the restrictions violated their First Amendment rights to practice their religion.

Christopher Ferrara, an attorney for the plaintiffs, called the unequal restrictions “an irrational targeting of houses of worship.”

The U.S. Justice Department called the decision “a win for religious freedom and the civil liberties of New Yorkers.”

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