Austin Eubanks: Columbine school shooting survivor found dead

A file picture of Austin Eubanks as a teenager and as an adult

A survivor of the Columbine High School shooting who later became a prominent advocate for fighting addiction has been found dead at his Colorado home.

Austin Eubanks, 37, was shot in the hand and knee in the 1999 Columbine attack, in which 12 of his classmates and a teacher were killed.

He became addicted to drugs after taking pain medication while recovering from his injuries.

Officials say there were no signs of foul play in his death.

Eubanks’s body was discovered on Saturday at his home in Steamboats Springs, Colorado, Routt County Coroner Robert Ryg said.

A post-mortem examination to establish the cause of death was planned for Monday.

His family said he had “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face”.

“As you can imagine, we are beyond shocked and saddened and request that our privacy is respected at this time,” they added in a statement reported by local TV station KMGH.

Eubanks told the BBC in 2017 of how the attack, which killed his best friend, led him to addiction.

“I was medicated on a variety of substances that were intended to sedate and to relieve pain,” he said.

“I became addicted before I even knew what was happening.”

Eubanks later worked at an addiction treatment centre and travelled the US telling his story and working to improve addiction recovery and prevention.

The Columbine High School shooting took place on 20 April, 1999 when two students killed 12 fellow pupils and a teacher. They then killed themselves.

It was, at the time, the deadliest school shooting in US history.

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Chicago police make three arrests

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks during a press conference at Chicago police headquarters about the arrest of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, IllinoisChicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called the murder of Ms Ochoa-Lopez “disgusting and thoroughly disturbing”

Three people have been charged over the murder of a nine months-pregnant teenager whose baby was then cut from her body.

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, disappeared on 23 April. Her body was found three weeks later on 15 May.

Her baby remains “in grave condition”, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter Desiree Figueroa, 24, have been charged with her murder.

Clarisa Figueroa’s partner Piotr Bobak, 40, was charged with concealment of a homicide.

Detectives say they were first alerted to Clarisa Figueroa on 7 May – two weeks after Ms Ochoa-Lopez’s disappearance – when friends of the teen directed police to her Facebook account where she had made arrangements with Ms Figueroa to pick up baby clothes.

Police allege that Ms Figueroa then lured Ms Ochoa-Lopez inside her home and, with the help of her daughter, strangled the 19-year-old with a cable. Once Ms Ochoa-Lopez had died, her baby was forcibly removed from her womb.

“Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” Supt Johnson said.

That same day, Ms Figueroa called paramedics to her home, in the south-west of Chicago, claiming her newborn baby was not breathing.

Ms Figueroa later started a GoFundMe campaign that she claimed was for the funeral of her dying baby, a spokeswoman for Ms Ochoa-Lopez’s family told AP news agency.

Subsequent DNA tests revealed that Ms Ochoa-Lopez was the baby’s mother.

Desiree Figueroa confessed to helping her mother strangle Ms Ochoa-Lopezwith a cable, CBS reported.

Presentational white spacePolice said Ms Ochoa-Lopez had met Clarisa Figueroa previously and had conducted prior exchanges of baby clothes.

On Thursday, Supt Johnson expressed his condolences to Ms Ochoa-Lopez’s family in the wake of her “brutal” murder.

“They should be celebrating the birth of a young baby,” he said. “Instead, they’re mourning the loss of the mother and possibly that young child.”

The three suspects are to appear in court on Friday.

US F-16 fighter jet crashes into California warehouse!

A warehouse employee recorded a video of the crash site aftermathA warehouse employee recorded a video of the crash site aftermath

An F-16 fighter jet has crashed into a warehouse near a base outside Los Angeles, leaving the pilot and workers on the ground with minor injuries.

The pilot ejected before impact, and the small fire that broke out was quickly suppressed by the building’s sprinkler system.

The US Air Force says five people on the ground were injured. They have not confirmed if ammunition was onboard.

One warehouse worker captured the aftermath in a Facebook post.

“That’s a military airplane in our building,” Jeff Schoffstall said in his mobile phone video.

“So the turbines are spinning, there’s no roof on the building so you’re looking through the roof, the walls are gone,” he continued.

A hole in the warehouse roof was filmed by news helicoptersA hole in the warehouse roof was filmed by news helicopters

The crash happened at about 15:45 local time (23:45 GMT) outside the March Air Reserve Base in Perris.

“It just shook the whole building,” employee Baldur Castro told CBS, adding that one worker had been knocked to the ground.

According to the Air Force Reserve, the jet was based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and was flying a training mission for the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The pilot's parachute was located in a nearby fieldThe pilot’s parachute was located in a nearby field

 

Tough Week For Contestants | The Grumpy Man's Guide to ...

“Wrongway Feldman.” (Gilligan’s Island, 1964)

NYT: Pentagon Readies Plan to Deploy 120,000 Troops as U.S.-Iran Tensions Mount

H1 pentagon troops iran middle east

As tensions continue to mount between the United States and Iran, the New York Times reports the Pentagon has drawn up a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if President Trump decides to take military action against Iran.

The U.S. recently deployed a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the region claiming there was a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces.”

Meanwhile the European Union is urging the Trump administration to show “maximum restraint” following a meeting Monday between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and EU diplomats in Brussels. Iran has announced it will stop complying with parts of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal if others signatories of the deal do not take action to shield Iran’s oil and banking sectors from U.S. sanctions.

We’ll have more on Iran after headlines.

Alabama to vote on bill banning abortion

Abortion is being debated in the Alabama statehouse (pictured) as well as at 15 others across the USThe Alabama state legislature

Alabama lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill to outlaw abortion outright in the state, which would become the strictest such law in the US if passed.

The state Senate began debating the measure on Tuesday, and must decide whether to allow exemptions for cases of rape or incest.

The bill was passed 74-3 this month in the state House of Representatives.

Activists hope it will challenge a landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalised abortion in the US.

What next?

A final vote could come on Tuesday evening.

Republican Governor Kay Ivey has not said whether she would sign it, but she is seen as a strong opponent of abortion.

Democrats plan to mount a filibuster to block the bill, but have only eight seats in the 35-member chamber.

Republican lawmaker Terri Collins, sponsor of the legislation, said: “Our bill says that baby in the womb is a person.”

Democratic state Senator Bobby Singleton said the bill “criminalises doctors” and is an attempt by men “to tell women what to do with their bodies”.

As the Senate debated whether to an exception for rape and incest, Democrat Rodger Smitherman said: “We’re telling a 12 year old girl who, through incest and rape is pregnant and we are telling her that she doesn’t have a choice.”

What does the bill do?

It goes further than legislation passed recently elsewhere in the US to ban abortion after a foetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy.

Under the Alabama measure, provision of abortion at any stage in pregnancy would be a class A felony.

Doctors could face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for actually carrying out the procedure.

A woman who receives an abortion would not be held criminally liable.

The bill would allow abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk.

Its text says more foetuses have been aborted than people killed in “Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields”.

anti-abortion activist in PhiladelphiaAn anti-abortion activist in Philadelphia

Why now?

Supporters of the legislation have welcomed an inevitable challenge in federal court if the measure becomes law.

The bill’s architects expect it will be defeated in the lower courts, but hope it will end up before the Supreme Court.

Their aim ultimately is to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognised a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy.

Emboldened by the addition of two Trump-nominated conservative justices, anti-abortion activists are eager to take one of the most divisive issues in America back to the highest court in the land.

Eric Johnston, founded the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition that helped draft the bill, told NPR: “The dynamic has changed.

“The judges have changed, a lot of changes over that time, and so I think we’re at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step.”

What’s the national picture?

If signed, the Alabama measure would become one of more than 300 laws challenging abortion access in the US.

Its passage comes amid a wave of anti-abortion measures in Republican-controlled state capitols around the nation.

Legislation to restrict abortion has been introduced in 16 of America’s 50 states this year alone, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for more abortion access.

The flurry of measures has led these activists to warn that a swathe of US territory could become an “abortion desert.”

At the other end of the political spectrum, a Democratic-sponsored bill in Virginia that would have allowed third-trimester abortions up until the point of childbirth failed to make it out of committee.

US states file lawsuit accusing drugs firms of inflating costs

An assortment of generic pillsA lawsuit alleges that more than 100 generic drugs were included in a price-fixing scheme

More than 40 US states have filed a lawsuit accusing pharmaceutical firms of conspiring to artificially inflate the cost of common medicinal drugs.

The lawsuit alleges that as many as 20 companies have been involved in fixing prices for over 100 drugs, including treatments for diabetes and cancer.

One of the firms accused is Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest producer of generic medicine.

Teva, which has denied any wrongdoing, says it will defend its actions.

The legal action, which follows a five-year investigation, accuses drugs companies of involvement in a scheme to boost prices – in some cases by more than 1,000% – and was filed on Friday by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.

“We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people,” Mr Tong said.

“We have emails, text messages, telephone records and former company insiders that we believe will prove a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices and divide market share for huge numbers of generic drugs.”

A representative of Teva in the US said that the Israeli company “has not engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability”, Reuters news agency reports.

The other 19 firms implicated in the lawsuit have yet to comment on the allegations.

Fifteen individuals were also named as defendants accused of overseeing the price-fixing scheme on a day-to-day basis.

According to the lawsuit, the drugs companies allegedly conspired to manipulate prices on dozens of medicines between July 2013 and January 2015.

It accuses Teva and others of “embarking on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States”.

Mr Tong said the investigation had exposed why the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs was so high in the US.

America’s healthcare system has been at the forefront of US politics for years.

President Donald Trump has frequently promised to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, which was designed to make medical cover affordable for the many Americans who had been priced out of the market.

States have argued that eliminating Obamacare would harm millions of Americans who would struggle to meet the costs of medical care.

Boston Red Sox see racial divide over White House visit

US President Donald Trump (C) poses with the 2018 World Series Champions Boston Red Sox at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2019
US President Donald Trump poses with the 2018 World Series Champions Boston Red Sox at the White House

US baseball champions the Boston Red Sox have visited the White House to celebrate their 2018 victory – without nearly all their non-white teammates.

At least 10 players and the World Series-winning team’s manager, all non-white, declined the president’s invitation.

In contrast, the dozen players who were due to attend were all white, except one who is Cuban-American.

US President Donald Trump celebrated the team on their “unstoppable” season.

But he did not comment at the White House on Thursday about the missing players.

“To all of the coaches and players of the Red Sox, congratulations on an incredible victory,” Mr Trump said.

Red Sox players Chris Sale and JD Martinez also made brief remarks, thanking the president for the invitation.

Mr Martinez called the trip a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.

Visiting the White House is a tradition for US championship teams. While certain players have opted out under past White House administrations, during Mr Trump’s presidency these visits – and those who decline – appear to have become more politicised.

US President Donald Trump (C) holds a Boston Redsox's jersey that was given to him as he welcomed the 2018 World Series Champions to the White House in Washington, DC, 9 May 2019
President Trump holds a Boston Redsox’s jersey that was given to him as he welcomed the team to the White House

Last year, Mr Trump cancelled the annual Super Bowl champions’ White House visit after most players said they did not want to attend.

In 2017, an invitation to the championship basketball team was cancelled for similar reasons.

The Red Sox, who won the World Series last year, told local media beforehand there was no ill will between the players who chose to meet Mr Trump and those who would skip the event.

Boston Red Sox manager Alex CoraBoston Red Sox manager Alex Cora was not at the White House

“We’re in a good place,” manager Alex Cora told WEEI radio.

Mr Cora is from Puerto Rico, and, in a rare move for a winning coach, said he would not be attending because it would not feel right to celebrate while people continued to struggle on the US island territory in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Mr Trump has been criticised for his handling of the US response to the hurricane, which devastated Puerto Rico and left nearly 3,000 dead.

Players Eduardo Rodriguez, David Price, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr, Rafael Devers, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Nunez, Christian Vazquez, and Hector Velazquez also stayed away.

Most of the players did not cite specific reasons for opting out. But as one local sports columnist tweeted: “So basically it’s the white Sox who’ll be going.”

The team’s owners also attended on Thursday. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy told the Boston Herald: “We fully support Alex [Cora] and respect his decision.”

Mr Kennedy added he was grateful for the Sox’s owners for fostering a team culture that encouraged “individual decision-making”.

Mitch Moreland, a white player who said he would attend, told the Washington Post that visiting the White House would be “very special”, but added that he respected his teammates’ choice.

Another player, Heath Hembree, said “it didn’t matter who was in the White House” – if there was a chance to meet the president, he would go.

A 2018 World Series Champions banner is unrolled before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays during pregame ceremonies at Fenway Park.Image copyrightREUTERS/BRIAN FLUHARTY/USA TODAY SPORTS
Image captionThe Red Sox were the 2018 World Series champions

All the discussion about the team’s apparent racial divide has also brought up the Red Sox’s troubled history.

The Sox were the last Major League Baseball team to end racial segregation in 1957.

The team’s former owner, Tom Yawkey, was an alleged racist who reportedly shouted slurs at black players, including legend Jackie Robinson.

Meanwhile, the White House welcomed the team’s visit with a spelling error that saw immediate outcry from fans.

On the official White House schedule of events, the Red Sox were erroneously referred to as the Red Socks. The mistake has since been corrected.