Crude pipe bombs sent to Obama, Clintons, CNN; no injuries
WASHINGTON – Crude pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, CNN and others were intercepted Tuesday night and Wednesday in a rash of attacks two weeks before nationwide elections that could reshape Congress and serve as a referendum on the first two years of President Donald Trump’s presidency.
The devices, which officials said shared a similar design, were aimed at prominent Democrats and a cable news network often criticized by political conservatives. A similar device was found Monday at the New York compound of liberal billionaire George Soros, a major contributor to Democratic causes.
The bombs overtook other campaign news in an already-tense political season, which has included pitched fights over immigration, the Supreme Court and sexual violence against women.
The White House quickly condemned the attacks aimed at Democrats and perceived foes of the administration.
“Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States,” Trump said. “This egregious conduct is abhorrent.”
Experts: Bomber likely left behind trove of forensic clues
WASHINGTON – Investigators examining the explosive devices sent to high-profile targets in Washington and New York this week will be working to glean forensic clues to help identify who sent them, from fingerprints and DNA evidence to tracking the origin of the packages and the components used to make the bombs.
Larry Johnson, a former head of criminal investigations for the U.S. Secret Service who also served as a special agent in charge of the presidential protective detail, said that bomb makers usually leave evidence behind. “If there is a human involved, there is a high probability you’re going to get somewhere investigatively,” he said. “There will be no stone left unturned.”
Johnson said it is highly likely that the person or people who built the bombs have been previously flagged by law enforcement. The Secret Service maintains an extensive database of individuals and groups who have made past threats against presidents or other top political leaders, either through letters, emails or on social media.
“A good percentage of the time, this is not the first time whoever is responsible for this will have stuck their neck out,” Johnson said. “Those looking to do revenge or harm to someone, it doesn’t just come to them one day.”
Among the first steps for investigators will be retracing the path of the packages through the postal system or courier service used to deliver them.
In migrant caravan, weary parents cite kids as motivation
HUIXTLA, Mexico – As thousands of Central American migrants renewed their trek Wednesday through Mexico toward the hoped-for, but still far-distant U.S. border, the physical toll was beginning to show in sickness and exhaustion, especially among the children toddling along, being pushed in strollers or carried in the arms of adults.
And for their parents, it was their hope for their children’s futures, and fears of what could happen to them back home in gang-dominated Honduras, that were the main motivation for deciding to leave in the first place.
“They can’t be alone. … There’s always danger,” said Ludin Giron, a Honduran street vendor making the difficult journey with her three young children. “When (gang members) see a pretty girl, they want her for themselves. If they see a boy, they want to get him into drugs.”
And it is well known that refusing either can be deadly. Honduras has a homicide rate of about 43 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in the world for any country not in open war.
On Wednesday, Giron was crammed with her children, 3-year-olds Justin and Nicole, and 5-year-old Astrid into the seat of a motorcycle taxi meant for only two passengers. Also perched in the perilously overcrowded motorbike were Reyna Esperanza Espinosa and her 11-year-old daughter, Elsa Araceli.
Saudi crown prince calls Khashoggi killing a ‘heinous’ crime
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – In a fiery and unwavering appearance Wednesday at an investment forum, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “heinous” and “painful to all Saudis,” before warning anyone against trying to “manipulate” the crisis and drive a wedge between the kingdom and Turkey.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was joined onstage by two Arab allies as he made his first extensive public remarks about the killing that has sparked widespread condemnation and marred his international standing after Turkish reports said a member of his entourage was involved in the crime.
Many international business leaders pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative, the kingdom’s main economic forum, after the Oct. 2 killing of The Washington Post columnist inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
But in the forum’s vast and ornate auditorium, thousands of people who did attend rose to their feet to applaud the 33-year-old heir whose strong showing underscored his reputation for being bold and assertive.
Prince Mohammed, who spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone before the forum, addressed the case immediately after taking the stage for a panel discussion, saying the Saudis were cooperating with Turkey on the Khashoggi investigation.
Police: Multiple people shot in Kentucky grocery store
JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. – Multiple people were shot at a Kroger grocery store Wednesday on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky, and one suspect was detained, police said.
A dispatcher with the Jeffersontown Police Department who spoke to The Associated Press did not give details on the extent of the victims’ injuries and would not give his name. He also did not release the name of the suspect.
Eric Deacon, an emergency medical technician who was shopping at the store when gunfire broke out, said he heard a “loud bang.”
“It almost sounded like a pallet hitting the floor,” he told WDRB-TV in Louisville.
Deacon said he saw two men run out of the store into the parking lot, shooting at each other. He said he saw a woman in her mid-50s or early 60s get hit as he was calling 911, and he ran to help her.
AP Explains: Why the world’s biggest lottery jackpot wasn’t
DES MOINES, Iowa – Call it the world’s largest lottery prize that wasn’t.
The Mega Millions jackpot that had been announced as the biggest ever at $1.6 billion ended up being the second-biggest at $1.537 billion. It’s a difference that likely means little to the lucky person who bought the ticket in South Carolina and won Tuesday night’s drawing, but it raises questions about how lottery officials make estimates and whether they were influenced by a desire to claim the jackpot amount surpassed all others.
HOW DO THEY ESTIMATE THE JACKPOT?
Although Mega Millions is sold in most states, 11 of them largely run the game and are in charge of determining the estimated jackpot, according to Gordon Medenica, director of the Maryland lottery, one of the key 11 states. When jackpots grow especially large , lottery officials from those states compare notes daily about sales figures and combine that information with historical data to make an initial estimate and then decide whether it needs updating.
WHY WERE THEY WRONG THIS TIME?
White supremacists arrested on Charlottesville riot charges
LOS ANGELES – The leader of a Southern California white supremacist group and two other members were arrested on charges of inciting a deadly riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The arrests come weeks after other group members were indicted in Virginia on similar charges.
Rise Above Movement leader Robert Rundo was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport after returning to the U.S. from Central America, said U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Thom Mrozek said. Rundo was denied bail in Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday,
Two others, Robert Boman and Tyler Laube, were arrested Wednesday morning and Aaron Eason remains at large, Mrozek said. All four are charged with traveling to incite or participate in riots. Attorney information for the defendants could not immediately be found.
The men allegedly took actions with the “intent to incite, organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on riots” last year in Charlottesville and in the California cities of Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino, according to a complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Shut out for years, Tennessee Democrats are now optimistic
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tennessee Democrats know something about disappointment. The last time voters chose a governor, the party pinned its hopes on a longshot punchline named Charlie Brown, who was trounced by 30 percentage points.
Two years before that, the Democrat who unexpectedly bested a weak primary field for a U.S. Senate seat was promptly disavowed by party leaders for his anti-gay views. Republican Bob Corker won re-election in a blowout.
But this year might be different. With Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam leaving office, there are no popular incumbents on the ballot for their offices. That advantage, combined with the feared nationwide backlash against President Donald Trump’s GOP, has at last given the Tennessee Democratic Party cause for cautious optimism heading into November. They have fielded viable candidates for governor and senator, as well as for some legislative districts where the party has not put up a fight in years.
The improved prospects add to Democratic hopes that anti-Trump energy will propel the party to a sweeping victory, possibly restoring control of the U.S. House and even the Senate, as well as governors’ offices.
Tesla delivers on Elon Musk’s 3Q profit pledge
SAN FRANCISCO – Tesla Motors delivered on CEO Elon Musk’s promise to make money during its latest quarter after fulfilling his pledge to boost production of its first electric car designed for the mass market.
The company earned $311.5 million during the three months ending in September, swinging from a loss of $619 million at the same time last year. It’s only the third time that Tesla has posted a quarterly profit in its eight-year history as a public company and the first time in two years.
A big jump in Tesla’s output of its mass-market Model 3 car powered the breakthrough. The manufacturing increase and moneymaking quarter are two things that Musk promised would happen in early August.
Revenue more than doubled from last year to $6.8 billion to easily top analyst estimates, just as the profit did.
Tesla’s stock soared 13 percent to $326.12 after the numbers came out.
Tech companies lead another steep sell-off in US stocks
Another torrent of selling gripped Wall Street Wednesday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting more than 600 points and erasing its gains for the year.
The Nasdaq composite, with a hefty roster of tech stocks, bore the brunt of the sell-off, leaving it more than 10 percent below its August peak, what Wall Street calls a “correction.”
Disappointing quarterly results and outlooks continued to weigh on the market, stoking investors’ jitters over future growth in corporate profits. Bond prices continued to rise, sending yields lower, as traders sought safe-haven investments.
“Investors are on pins and needles,” said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. “There has definitely been a change in sentiment for investors starting with the volatility we had last week. The sentiment and the outlook seems to be turning more negative, or at the very least, less rosy.”
Investors have grown concerned in recent weeks that Corporate America’s tax cut-fueled earnings growth this year will be arrested in coming months amid rising inflation, uncertainty over the escalating trade conflict between the U.S. and China and the likelihood of higher interest rates. Recent data showing the housing market is slowing have also fueled speculation that U.S. economic growth will start to slow next year.