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National News

    A Democratic senator is seeking marketing information, sales records and studies from manufacturers of the top-selling opioid products in the United States to determine whether drugmakers have contributed to an overuse of the pain killers. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said that sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, taking a financial toll on the government and a deadly toll on thousands of consumers. McCaskill said previous government and media reports show an industry not focused on preventing abuse but on fostering addiction. She is investigating whether such practices continue today. Some of the records she is asking for from the five companies include the sales rep expenses for entertaining physicians, payments made to health care advocacy groups, as well as marketing and business plans. 'We have an obligation to everyone devastated by this epidemic to find answers,' McCaskill said in a prepared statement issued Tuesday. 'All of this didn't happen overnight. It happened one prescription and marketing program at a time.' More than 52,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2015, and roughly two-thirds of them had used prescription opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin or illegal drugs like heroin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those overdoses have jumped 33 percent in the past five years alone, with some states reporting the death toll had doubled or more. Congress worked on a bipartisan basis last year in a bid to boost funding for treatment programs. McCaskill is the ranking Democratic lawmaker on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The Republican chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson, did not sign the letter seeking the information from the drug manufacturers, but was sent copies of her letters.
  • Federal immigration officials say an agent shot and wounded a man after he pointed a gun at agents trying to make an arrest in a Chicago home, but the wounded man's attorney said he was unarmed and targeted for no apparent reason. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the special agent was attempting to arrest someone Monday morning when a second person pointed a weapon at agents. ICE officials said the special agent fired his weapon, wounding the second person. But attorney Thomas Hallock told reporters later Monday that he heard a different version of events when he visited the wounded 53-year-old man at a hospital. Hallock said he was told the man heard a pounding at his door, answered it and was shot 'without cause.' Hallock says the man was not armed. 'I don't know if there was some sort of mistake,' Hallock said. ICE officials said the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility will review the shooting. Asked about the lawyer's account of the shooting, ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said in an email Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing and that no further details can be immediately released. Hallock said the man and his wife arrived from Mexico more than two decades ago and are legal residents of the United States. Seven or eight people were in the home at the time of the shooting, he said. ICE has not publicly named the target of the arrest warrant and it wasn't clear if that person was detained. Hallock said he is also representing the wounded man's 23-year-old son, who was briefly detained. Chicago police officials said their officers responded to the call of shots fired. They said they are investigating any underlying criminal offenses and working with prosecutors and the Department of Homeland Security.
  • A woman was paying for parking at Juniper and 5th streets in midtown Atlanta when a robber grabbed at her purse and then slashed her throat when she resisted. That robber is still on the run. 'That's the reason I haven't slept because I know he's out and he can do it again,' witness Fernando Bispo told Channel 2's Carl Willis. Bispo said he saw the entire attack Sunday afternoon and vividly remembers the scene. He told Willis he saw the struggle, chased the robber down 5th Street and eventually confronted him. 'I saw the knife,' Bispo told Willis. TRENDING STORIES: Sex in a city courtroom? City of Atlanta ethics complaints on the rise Woman's Yorkie stolen from front porch 'Kiddie Cartel' suspected of vandalism-theft 'He came that close to you?' Willis asked. 'Yeah, very close. But I jumped,' Bispo told Willis. He narrowly escaped injury. The victim, Marla Franks, was not as fortunate. 'The man then took a knife and cut her throat about 5 to 6 inches,' said Officer Stephanie Brown with the Atlanta Police Department. Franks needed 17 stitches. Bispo told Willis the robber dropped the victim's purse after all of this and was last seen hopping a fence near Kindred Hospital. Bispo returned it to the victim, only then realizing how badly she was hurt. 'I was even angrier when I saw this because he tried to kill her,' Bispo told Willis. Police say it's not worth it to risk your life. 'Let it go, because we don't want you to have any type of bodily injury,' Brown said. But Bispo said he had to act. 'I know that was dangerous. I know that was crazy. I knew that, but I just tried to do something,' Bispo said.
  • Miller posted on Instagram on Sunday that she will no longer take part in the show. She says that she has asked for creative credit for her ideas for the show for six years, but hasn't received it. She says she has been 'manipulated, disrespected and used.' Representatives for A&E Networks, which includes Lifetime, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Miller pleaded guilty in June to hiding about $775,000 from a bankruptcy court after filing for Chapter 11. She's set to be sentenced in Pittsburgh on May 8.
  • Conservationists say they have evidence that the critically endangered Indochinese tiger is breeding in a Thai jungle, giving hope for the survival of an animal whose total population may be less than 300. Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation along with two private organizations announced Tuesday they have photographic evidence of new tiger cubs in eastern Thailand, supporting a scientific survey that confirmed the existence of the world's second breeding population of the tigers. The other breeding ground is in the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand. The Thai agency, along with Freeland, an organization fighting human and animal trafficking, and Panthera, a wild cat conservation group, said only 221 Indochinese tigers are estimated to remain in two Asian countries, Thailand and Myanmar.
  • Two Miami police officers are recovering after they were injured in an ambush-style attack during a gang sweep Monday night. >> Read more trending stories The officers were conducting surveillance around 10 p.m. outside the Annie Coleman apartment complex near NW 60th Street and 20th Avenue when they were ambushed by two people and shot, Miami-Dade police director Juan Perez said. John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade police union, told the Miami Herald that the officers were in an unmarked car when the attack took place. Rivera said six people were involved in the attack. “They were outnumbered and outgunned,” he told the Herald. “God was watching over them tonight.” One of the officers was shot in the leg, the other in the arm, the Herald reported. Maj. Hector Llevat said one of the officers returned fire, but it was not immediately clear whether he hit his assailants. The gunmen were able to elude police and remained at large Tuesday morning. The officers were not identified, however police told WFOR that they have been with the department for 26 and 11 years, respectively. They were taken from the scene of the shooting by fellow officers, who pulled them from the “hot zone” into a pickup truck and took them to Miami’s Jackson Ryder Trauma Center. “They are lucky to be alive,” Perez told WFOR. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen a car hit by so many rounds. A high-powered weapon struck that vehicle and the officers should be counting their blessings today. We certainly are counting our blessings.” Both officers were listed in stable condition Tuesday morning. Police continued to search for the gunmen responsible for the attack, who are considered armed and dangerous.
  • Two men have been charged with murder in an October shooting outside a Pappadeaux restaurant in Marietta that began with a piece of costume jewelry and ended with a dead husband. Cobb County police investigators filed paperwork against Dylan Marquis Ledbetter and Demarious Greene, both of whom were already in custody, on Thursday. The men are connected to violent crimes throughout Cobb and Cherokee counties. Ledbetter is also wanted in Florida on an attempted murder charge. The Cobb murder charges stem from an Oct. 7 shooting. Cynthia and Anthony Welch were heading to their car after a birthday dinner at the Windy Hill Road restaurant when they were stopped in the parking lot. Cynthia Welch previously explained that a man shot her husband of 25 years and snatched the $5 costume necklace off her neck before shooting her and running away. The warrant does not specify who police think pulled the trigger. TRENDING STORIES: Sex in a city courtroom? City of Atlanta ethics complaints on the rise Woman's Yorkie stolen from front porch 'Kiddie Cartel' suspected of vandalism-theft Ledbetter was 22 when he was indicted in January for allegedly trying to run over officers with a car. A week after the Pappadeaux slaying, cops were trying to stop Ledbetter because the car he was driving matched the description of a vehicle connected to the shooting. Officers shot Ledbetter in his arm and leg as they said he sped toward them. Lab results in the Pappadeaux shooting were recently returned from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and Cobb police were able to file charges in the case. Ledbetter has been in jail since Oct. 18. Two days before that, 21-year-old Green was booked into Cherokee County jail on charges of robbery, aggravated assault and other counts. Those Cherokee charges are from an Oct. 12 incident when the men allegedly stole a man's necklace at gunpoint outside the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta. Ledbetter has also been accused of a similar necklace-snatching crime in Sandy Springs. A woman told police she was holding her 1 year old and just getting home when a man snatched a gold chain off of her and the child. The men are awaiting indictment on the Pappadeaux charges. Authorities have not discussed how they will handle the pending charges in other jurisdictions. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution contributed to this report.
  • Hungary's new legislation allowing for the detention of asylum-seekers in shipping containers at border camps took effect Tuesday, with the European Union's commissioner for migration saying that it needs to comply with the bloc's rules. Dimitris Avramopoulos said that EU and Hungarian experts will meet to discuss the new law, which has been sharply criticized by U.N. agencies and human rights advocates. The new legislation is meant to complement the fences built by Hungary in 2015 and this year on the borders with Serbia and Croatia. The barriers have drastically reduced the number of migrants able to pass through the country on their way to Germany and other destinations in Western Europe. 'We decided to work together through our experts and ensure that EU rules also are complied with,' Avramopoulos said after meeting with Hungarian officials. 'The European principles have been jointly and unanimously agreed by all member states and should therefore be respected and implemented by everyone, too.' 'This implies giving effective access to the asylum procedure while fighting against abuses, but also ensuring a fair review of decisions,' the commissioner added. Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said that while there was agreement with the EU about the need to increase European security, there were differences on how to deal with migrants trying to enter countries while avoiding regular border controls. 'Our positions came closer even today and by the summer, we will find a way to express a common position,' Pinter said. Human Rights Watch, a New York-based group, said that the commissioner's visit was 'long overdue' and noted that other countries in the region, like Poland and Slovenia, were following Hungary's example by adopting similarly restrictive asylum rules. Hungary's new rules are 'designed to make it difficult to seek asylum there, and unpleasant or downright dangerous for those who do,' said Lydia Gall, an HRW researcher in Eastern Europe. She said that 'Avramopoulos should demand that Hungary change course. He should also be willing to use legal enforcement action if Hungary fails to comply.' Meanwhile, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, an advocate for asylum-seekers, said that a temporary order late Monday from the European Court of Human Rights was meant to prevent Hungary from taking eight teenagers and a woman with a high-risk pregnancy from refugee reception centers to the shipping container border camps. 'The rules coming into force today simply deny protection to children, deny protection to refugees and essentially resort to illegal detention,' said Marta Pardavi, the Helsinki Committee's co-chair. Gyorgy Bakondi, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's national security adviser, said that 88 asylum-seekers, including 21 unaccompanied minors between the ages of 14 and 18, were now in reception centers around the country and could be taken to either of the two transit zones on the Serbian border, in the towns of Roszke and Tompa. 'We took these legal steps so that no one is able to enter Hungary illegally,' Bakondi said. 'Our aim is to decrease the security risk markedly present in Europe since 2015. We are protecting not only Hungary's borders, but Europe's as well.' U.N. children's agency UNICEF has also expressed concerns over that fact that unaccompanied minors older than 14 will also be detained in the border camps.
  • Facebook is adding more Snapchat-like features to its app. The company says it wants to let people's cameras 'do the talking' as more people are posting photos and videos instead of blocks of text. With the update coming to users starting Tuesday, Facebook is adding a camera icon to the top left corner of its mobile app. Users can tap it to open their phone's camera to do a photo or video post. Users could post photos from the app before, it just took two taps. Facebook's other new Snapchat-copycat features are filters and animations that can be added to images, and a 'stories' feature that lets users post photos and videos that stay live for 24 hours. Snapchat pioneered the camera-first sharing and is wildly popular with younger users.
  • Local animal lovers are banding together to help save a cat rescued from a north Tulsa fire. Officials say three cats and a dog died in the fire near North Xenophon Avenue and West Seminole Street Sunday night. Firefighters say that when they pulled Fuego the cat out of the fire, he wasn’t breathing either. >> Read more trending news They put an oxygen mask on Fuego and revived him. A neighbor reached out through the 'Tulsa PAWS' Facebook group when crews took Fuego to an emergency veterinarian where he could receive care. Within just a few hours, PAWS members on Facebook donated enough money to ensure that Fuego would receive the treatment he needs through the week. Fuego suffered severe smoke inhalation, burns on the pads of his feet and a burn to his cornea. He is recovering well. PAWS is still collecting money to pay for the cat’s ongoing care. The owners will have an opportunity to take over his medical care if they want to continue to own Fuego, but if not, PAWS will find the cat a home. All of the human residents who lived in the home were able to make it out of the home. Investigators have not been able to determine what caused the fire, but they say a fire burned at the same home within the last few years.

News

  • President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday aimed at moving forward on his campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama's plan to curb global warming. The order will suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. As part of the roll-back, Trump will initiate a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The regulation, which was the former president's signature effort to curb carbon emissions, has been the subject of long-running legal challenges by Republican-led states and those who profit from burning oil, coal and gas. Trump, who has called global warming a 'hoax' invented by the Chinese, has repeatedly criticized the power-plant rule and others as an attack on American workers and the struggling U.S. coal industry. The contents of the order were outlined to reporters in a sometimes tense briefing with a senior White House official, whom aides insisted speak without attribution despite President Trump's criticism of the use of unnamed sources in the news media. The official at one point appeared to break with mainstream climate science, denying familiarity with widely publicized concerns about the potential adverse economic impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and more extreme weather. In addition to pulling back from the Clean Power Plan, the administration will also lift a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The Obama administration had imposed a three-year moratorium on new federal coal leases in January 2016, arguing that the $1 billion-a-year program must be modernized to ensure a fair financial return to taxpayers and address climate change. Trump accused his predecessor of waging a 'war on coal' and boasted in a speech to Congress that he has made 'a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations,' including some that threaten 'the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.' The order will also chip away at other regulations, including scrapping language on the 'social cost' of greenhouse gases. It will initiate a review of efforts to reduce the emission of methane in oil and natural gas production as well as a Bureau of Land Management hydraulic fracturing rule, to determine whether those reflect the president's policy priorities. It will also rescind Obama-era executive orders and memoranda, including one that addressed climate change and national security and one that sought to prepare the country for the impacts of climate change. The administration is still in discussion about whether it intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. But the moves to be announced Tuesday will undoubtedly make it more difficult for the U.S. to achieve its goals. Trump's Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, alarmed environmental groups and scientists earlier this month when he said he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. The statement is at odds with mainstream scientific consensus and Pruitt's own agency. The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed studies and climate scientists agree the planet is warming, mostly due to man-made sources, including carbon dioxide, methane, halocarbons and nitrogen oxide. The official who briefed reporters said the president does believe in man-made climate change. The power-plant rule Trump is set to address in his order has been on hold since last year as a federal appeals court considers a challenge by coal-friendly states and more than 100 companies who call the plan an unconstitutional power grab. Opponents say the plan will kill coal-mining jobs and drive up electricity costs. The Obama administration, some Democratic-led states and environmental groups countered that it would spur thousands of clean-energy jobs and help the U.S. meet ambitious goals to reduce carbon pollution set by the international agreement signed in Paris. Trump's order on coal-fired power plants follows an executive order he signed last month mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution. The order instructs the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review a rule that redefined 'waters of the United States' protected under the Clean Water Act to include smaller creeks and wetlands. While Republicans have blamed Obama-era environmental regulations for the loss of coal jobs, federal data shows that U.S. mines have been shedding jobs for decades under presidents from both parties as a result of increasing automation and competition from cheaper natural gas. Another factor is the plummeting cost of solar panels and wind turbines, which now can produce emissions-free electricity cheaper than burning coal. According to an Energy Department analysis released in January, coal mining now accounts for fewer than 70,000 U.S. jobs. By contrast, renewable energy — including wind, solar and biofuels — now accounts for more than 650,000 U.S. jobs. The Trump administration's plans drew praise from business groups and condemnation from environmental groups. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue praised the president for taking 'bold steps to make regulatory relief and energy security a top priority.' 'These executive actions are a welcome departure from the previous administration's strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, job-killing regulations that choked our economy,' he said. Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy accused the Trump administration of wanting 'us to travel back to when smokestacks damaged our health and polluted our air, instead of taking every opportunity to support clean jobs of the future.' 'This is not just dangerous; it's embarrassing to us and our businesses on a global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic growth, and U.S. leadership,' she said in a statement. ___ Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker contributed to this report. Follow Daly and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC and https://twitter.com/colvinj
  • Amy Peterson’s daughter Gracie had been getting teased at school for not having a father.  >> Read more trending news  “She had one kid tell her she didn’t have a dad because she’s fat and ugly,” the Henry County mother told told WSB-TV. So when the daughter-father dance rolled around, Peterson got the idea to dress up as a father and go to the dance, she told the news station.  “(Gracie) was OK with it,” she said, “She was excited that her friends were going to get to see this.”  They even posted a photo of what Peterson would look like taking her daughter to the dance.  But an hour before the two were set to leave, Peterson got a phone call from the Locust Grove Elementary School principal telling her she couldn’t go.  “She said: ‘No I forbid you to come and if you show up we will turn you away,’” she told WSB-TV.  Peterson had no choice but to tell her 6-year-old daughter they couldn’t go.  The news was just as painful for her as it was for her daughter.  “I identify myself as her father and mother because that’s what I’ve done for six years,” she said.  In a statement to WSB-TV, Henry County school officials said administrators spoke to Peterson in advance about the dance and said she was told in a dance announcement that any father figure could attend in lieu of a father.  “The school is cognizant that different dynamics exist across households in our school system,” officials said in the statement. “Anyone with a question as to the requirements or specifics of any school extracurricular event is encouraged to reach out to a school official or teacher. There are multiple parent engagement events and opportunities to participate with their kids annually at this school in an effort to make that connection and build school spirit.”  The school also holds a mother-son dance and a sweethearts dance for Valentine’s Day.  The school also offered to refund Peterson her $20 and made an apology.  Still, Peterson thinks more could have been done.  “I think they handled it poorly,” she told WSB-TV. “They shouldn’t have turned any parent away.”
  • A man whose daughter was killed in a traffic accident has joined a campaign to improve the busy intersection. A car hit and killed Alexia Hyneman, 14, on Monroe Drive and 10th Street in midtown Atlanta last year. The driver told police he did not see Hyneman, who was riding her bike when it happened around 3 p.m. She was a freshman at Grady High School. A neighborhood group wants to slow down traffic on Monroe Drive and turn one traffic lane into a bike lane. Alexia's father wants to make sure no family has to go through their pain. 'it hit her hard enough to send her quite a distance. I don't quite understand how the car accelerated that fast in the brief route that it had but it had to,' Thomas Hyneman said. There are two more days for public comment on the project.
  • A Cherokee County middle school teacher who was killed in a car crash will be buried Tuesday.  Kevin White, 37, of Canton, died Friday after his F-150 went off a 100-foot embankment on I-575 at Little River Bridge near Ridgewalk Parkway in Woodstock, officials said. He was a chorus teacher at E.T. Booth Middle School in Woodstock.  RELATED: Teacher dies after pickup truck goes off embankment on I-575 White’s funeral will be held Tuesday at Canton First United Methodist Church at 3 p.m. Visitation is scheduled until 9 p.m. Monday and again from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at South Canton Funeral Home. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. White's family and friends,” Cherokee County Schools said in a statement. White had taught in the school district since 2004.  Grief counselors had been at the school since Friday, spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said.  In other news: