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    An Atlanta middle school student was taken to the hospital Wednesday after ingesting a “controlled substance,” according to school officials. The Young Middle School student was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta Public Schools spokeswoman Kimberly Willis Green said. The call came in about 2:50 p.m., officials said.  The APS Police Department is investigating the incident, Green said.  Other students were evaluated to see if they ingested the substance, Channel 2 Action News reported.  Parents of affected students were notified immediately, APS spokeswoman Pat St. Claire said. All parents are expected to get a robocall.  In other news:
  • Tasharina Fluker and her daughter had just gotten to their Lithonia townhome Wednesday morning from celebrating the mother’s birthday. No less than an hour after they arrived, police say Fluker’s boyfriend, Michael Thornton, shot and killed her and daughter Janazia Miles.  A family member found one of them in the middle of the doorway and Miles’ 8-month-old son unharmed, Channel 2 Action News reported. It is not known how the relative entered the home.  Police were called to the scene about 3 a.m. after getting a person-down call on the 2000 block of Parkway Trail. The women were found with “no signs of life,” DeKalb police Lt. Rod Bryant said.  Thornton was later found at another location, police said. They have not described his relationship to the women, but neighbors said Thornton and Fluker were in a relationship and lived at the home. Neighbor Trocon Talhouk told Channel 2 he heard the couple arguing in the middle of the night.  “He kept saying: ‘All I want to do is get in the house,’” Talhouk said. “And then, shortly after that, I heard a car speed off and (the) next thing you know fire trucks and police cars were pulling up.”  It wasn’t the first time neighbors had heard domestic incidents at the home, Talhouk said.  “According to neighbors, (the two) fight all the time and he’s always beating (her),” he told Channel 2.  Fluker also leaves behind two sons — one in middle school and another who attends Grambling State University on a football scholarship he earned while playing for Miller Grove High School, the station reported. Police have not released other details.  In other news:
  • The grandmother of a Gwinnett County toddler who died after being hit by a car in front of her house was arrested in connection with the incident, police said Wednesday. Gilma J. Ordonez-Guevara, 44, of Lawrenceville, is charged with vehicular homicide, hit-and-run, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and not having a license, Cpl. Michele Pihera said. Ordonez-Guevara was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail on Tuesday, Pihera said. She also is on an immigration hold by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to jail records. Ordonez-Guevara, who lives in the same Lawrenceville neighborhood as the toddler, initially denied being involved, police said. However, after investigators searched her SUV, evidence conflicted with her previous statements. Based on the second interview, police learned she hit the toddler, 23-month-old Valeria Leiba, as she was backing out of the driveway in the 1000 block of Memory Lane. Ordonez-Guevara did not know the child was behind her SUV, according to police. After the incident, Ordonez-Guevara carried her granddaughter inside the child’s home, got back in her SUV and drove to her own house. She left her SUV in the driveway and walked back to her granddaughter’s home. RELATED: Gwinnett toddler dies after being hit by car “There are not enough words to help bring solace to the victim’s family during such a tragic loss,” Pihera said. “We want the family to know that many people in Gwinnett and the surrounding communities are thinking of them during this difficult time.” In other news:
  • U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch vowed to uphold the law if confirmed to the nation’s highest court, not tipping his hand as he sidestepped controversial political subjects, as Gorsuch directly pushed back against President Donald Trump’s criticism of federal judges. “When anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity, the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening; I find that demoralizing,” Gorsuch said in response to questions from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “Anyone including the President of the United States?” Blumenthal pressed. “Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch replied. In a day of testimony that stretched for almost twelve hours, Gorsuch parried most questions from Democrats, who tried in vain to get him to reveal his views on issues like abortion, and items that might come before the Supreme Court, like President Trump’s travel ban. Gorsuch repeatedly refused to take the bait. “I can’t get involved in politics, and I think it would be very imprudent of judges to start commenting on political disputes,” Gorsuch said. Under questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gorsuch was asked what he had discussed with President Trump on the issue of abortion. “In that interview did he ever ask you to overrule Roe v Wade?” Graham asked. “No, Senator,” Gorsuch replied, adding that if the President had asked that question, “I would have walked out the door.” Gorsuch was pressed about the President in a number of different ways, telling Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that, “nobody is above the law in this country, and that includes the President of the United States.” With Republicans strongly in support of Gorsuch, there was already maneuvering behind the scenes over the expected floor fight in the Senate, as Democrats have made clear they think the GOP should be forced to get 60 votes for his nomination. That has prompted GOP leaders to criticize the threat of a filibuster. “If there aren’t 60 votes for a nominee like Neil Gorsuch it’s appropriate to ask the question is there any nominee any Republican president could make that Democrats would approve,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Gorsuch’s lengthy day of testimony ended on a light note, as Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) suggested to Gorsuch that he have a cocktail before bed. “Just don’t drink vodka,” Kennedy said to chuckles from the audience. Kennedy then drew even more laughter by adding in one more surprise. “You never been to Russia, have you?” “I’ve never been to Russia,” a smiling Gorsuch said.
  • An off-duty Fulton County police officer shot a man after a chase in Atlanta Wednesday morning, the GBI says. The officer, whose name has not been released, was in his personal vehicle about 11 a.m., when he responded to a theft at a T-Mobile store on Mount Zion Parkway in Morrow, GBI spokesman Rich Bahan said.  The officer followed the suspect’s car into the city limits of Atlanta while reporting the incident to 911, Bahan said. At some point near Alyson Court, the two cars collided and when the driver got out of his car the off-duty officer shot him with his service weapon, Bahan said.   MORE:  Sheriff: Man out on bond for murder arrested after fighting victim’s family Ex-NFL player jailed after allegedly attacking woman in front of kids Police: Men brought ‘bag of bullets’ to shootout with alleged gang members Witness Jay Mitchell told Channel 2 Action News he thinks the man was shot in the stomach area after the police officer chased him and tried to pull him over. The suspect kept driving even after he was shot, Bahan said, and Atlanta police stopped him in the 1700 block of Lakewood Avenue. Whether the off-duty Fulton County officer stayed on the scene was not released, but his car was found parked at a store on Cleveland Avenue, Channel 2 reported. The man who was shot was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, Bahan said. The shooting is the fourth in less than a week involving a Georgia officer. A Georgia State Patrol trooper fatally shot a man after a chase early Saturday in Polk County. Jason Dennis Watkins, 36, was taken to Polk County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. RELATED: GSP trooper fatally shoots man after chase Willie Ivy III, 29, of Atlanta, died after a Fulton County police officer and an armed security guard shot him early Saturday in College Park, the GBI said.  RELATED: Man dead in police-involved shooting incident in College Park A Pickens County sheriff’s sergeant on Tuesday shot and critically injured Gary Lee Castle after he “moved aggressively” toward the official “with a large metal pipe in his hand,” the sheriff’s office said. RELATED: Sergeant shoots, critically injures man, Pickens County sheriff says In January and February, the GBI conducted 17 officer-involved shooting investigations, agency spokeswoman Nelly Miles said. RELATED: OVER THE LINE: Police shootings in Georgia The GBI investigated 78 police shootings in the state last year. In other news:
  • Gong Show' creator and host Chuck Barris, 87, died Tuesday at his Palisades, New York, home, according to The Associated Press. >> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017 Barris' publicist said the game show magnate, who also created 'The Dating Game' and 'The Newlywed Game,' died of 'natural causes,' the AP reported. >> Read more trending news Fans flocked to Twitter to pay tribute to Barris.  >> Click here or scroll down to see what they were saying
  • Middle-age white Americans with limited education are increasingly dying younger, on average, than other middle-age U.S. adults, a trend driven by their dwindling economic opportunities, research by two Princeton University economists has found. The economists, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, argue in a paper released Thursday that the loss of steady middle-income jobs for those with high school degrees or less has triggered broad problems for this group. They are more likely than their college-educated counterparts, for example, to be unemployed, unmarried or afflicted with poor health. 'This is a story of the collapse of the white working class,' Deaton said in an interview. 'The labor market has very much turned against them.' Those dynamics helped fuel the rise of President Donald Trump, who won widespread support among whites with only a high school degree. Yet Deaton said his policies are unlikely to reverse these trends, particularly the health care legislation now before the House that Trump is championing. That bill would lead to higher premiums for older Americans, the Congressional Budget Office has found. 'The policies that you see, seem almost perfectly designed to hurt the very people who voted for him,' Deaton said. Case and Deaton's paper, issued by the Brookings Institution, follows up on research they released in 2015 that first documented a sharp increase in mortality among middle-aged whites. Since 1999, white men and women ages 45 through 54 have endured a sharp increase in 'deaths of despair,' Case and Deaton found in their earlier work. These include suicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol-related deaths such as liver failure. In the paper released Thursday, Case and Deaton draw a clearer relationship between rising death rates and changes in the job market since the 1970s. They find that men without college degrees are less likely to receive rising incomes over time, a trend 'consistent with men moving to lower and lower skilled jobs.' Other research has found that Americans with only high school degrees are less likely to get married or purchase a home and more likely to get divorced if they do marry. 'It's not just their careers that have gone down the tubes, but their marriage prospects, their ability to raise children,' said Deaton, who won the Nobel prize in economics in 2015 for his long-standing work on solutions to poverty. 'That's the kind of thing that can lead people to despair.' It's not entirely clear why these trends have affected whites much more than they have African-Americans or Hispanics, whose death rates are improving. Case and Deaton note that many Hispanics are 'markedly better off' than parents or grandparents who were born abroad, enabling a greater sense of optimism. African-Americans, they add, may have become more resilient to economic challenges given their long-standing disadvantages in the job market. The data is clear, though: In 1999, the death rate for high school-educated whites ages 50 through 54 was 30 percent lower than the death rate for all African-Americans in that age group. By 2015, it was 30 percent higher. The educational split is also growing. Even while the death rate for whites without a college degree is rising, the rate for whites who are college graduates is falling, Case and Deaton found. Americans with less education are also faring much worse when compared with adults in other countries, Case and Deaton concluded. Death rates in Europe for people with limited education are falling — and in most countries, they're falling faster than death rates for those with more education. For those reasons, Case and Deaton discount the notion that government disability benefit programs are responsible for some of these problems by enabling more Americans to stop working. Social welfare programs in Europe are typically more generous yet haven't caused a rise in death rates. Given the long-running nature of these trends, many of which stem from the 1970s, reversing them could take years, Case and Deaton write. But there are immediate steps that could be taken, Deaton said in the interview. Routine prescriptions for opioids should be cut back. And, 'Europe has a much better safety net than we do, and they're not seeing the same sort of problems as we are,' he said. ____ Follow Chris Rugaber on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/ChrisRugaber .
  • China's premier on Thursday warned against protectionism, saying his country planned to close its $50 billion a year deficit with Australia by expanding the trading relationship rather than retreating from it. Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech in Australia's Parliament House that globalization created 'some problems,' but that free trade was not to blame. China 'cannot close our doors' to solve its trade imbalance with Australia, which last year left the Chinese with a $50 billion deficit largely through industrial demand for iron ore and coal, he said. 'We believe that to resolve trade imbalance, we need to continue to expand trade,' Li said through an interpreter. Li and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will on Friday detail an expansion of their two-year-old bilateral free trade pact in the areas of investment and services. President Donald Trump's election promises to change the dynamics of global trade. Australia was an enthusiastic advocate of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, an ambitious trading bloc of Pacific Rim countries that the Obama administration had committed the United States to joining. China never intended to join. As well as pulling the United States out of that pact, Trump — who campaigned on an 'America First' platform — has said he will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. Australia's 12-year-old free trade deal with the United States could also be reviewed. Li's visit to Australia and New Zealand, which started late Wednesday, is the first by a Chinese premier in 11 years. He is also the most senior Chinese official to visit Australia since 2014, when President Xi Jinping finalized the free trade deal. Turnbull suggested that as well as trade, the two leaders will discuss tensions in the South China Sea over competing territorial claims. 'Premier Li and I will discuss, as we have before, the importance of upholding and maintaining stability in our region,' Turnbull said. 'We believe China has much to contribute to global peace and prosperity in this time of rapid change.' Li said China would work with Australia to ensure freedom of navigation in distributed regions. China will 'never seek hegemony and dominance,' he said, adding China needed a stable world environment to grow its economy. Li was welcomed to Parliament House by a 19-gun salute and distant protest chants of anti-China demonstrators who were kept well away from the Chinese leader. About 100 Tibet and Xinjiang separatists along with Falun Gong supporters were cordoned off from a similar number of China fans who wielded national flags and beat drums on the front lawn of Parliament House. The protesters carried placards including 'China stop bribing Australia,' 'Free Tibet' and 'Stop persecuting Falun Gong.
  • Minute by Minute Coverage The Latest on reports of an incident outside Britain's parliament:8:15 p.m.South Korea's foreign ministry said five South Koreans in their 50s and 60s were among the 40 people injured in London during the terror attack outside Parliament. The ministry said they were hurt when they were caught up in a stampede of people trying to escape the attack.___6:30 p.m. British police say five people died in the terror attack outside Parliament. Counter-terrorism chief Mark Rowley said one policeman, three civilians and the attacker died. He said a further 40 people were wounded. U.K. police say extra armed officers to be on the streets in the next few days.-----5 p.m.Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the 'sick and depraved terrorist attack' in London and says the targeting Parliament was no accident.In a late-night statement outside her Downing Street office Wednesday, a defiant May said the nation will not give in to terror and those who targeted the seat of power in Britain.She insisted that 'tomorrow morning Parliament will meet as normal,' and urged the country to move on and behave as normal on Thursday.May says 'we will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.'The prime minister confirmed that four people died in the attack and praised the security services who ran toward danger.___4 p.m.A French government plane is set to fly to London Wednesday evening to bring the families of three French students wounded in the attacks at the British Parliament to their loved ones.French President Francois Hollande announced the move in a statement Wednesday night after speaking with British Prime Minister Theresa May.May confirmed to Hollande that three French high school students from France's western Britanny region were wounded in the attacks, the statement said.Hollande offered his condolences to May for those who died in the attacks and expressed France's solidarity with Britain 'in this tragic ordeal.'The British and French services are in close contact to conduct the investigation,' Hollande added.London is a common destination for French school trips. I will turn my lights off tonight, at midnight, to pay tribute to the victims of the London attack. #EiffelTower pic.twitter.com/MTnkoflVv3-- La tour Eiffel (@LaTourEiffel) March 22, 2017 ___3:55 p.m.Romania's foreign ministry says two Romanians were wounded in a deadly attack in London's Westminster that left four dead.The ministry said the two had been taken to a hospital for treatment. There were no further details on the identity of the two or how seriously they were injured. The ministry said it had been informed by authorities in London.A knife-wielding man went on a deadly rampage near the Parliament, mowing down pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge before stabbing an armed police officer to death inside the gates of Parliament. Four people were killed, including the attacker. About 20 others were injured.___3:20 p.m.Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy condemned the deadly attack in London's Westminster on Wednesday and offered condolences to the British people in a telegram sent to his British counterpart Theresa May. 'An execrable terrorist act like the one that took place today is a reminder that we face complex challenges for the security of our societies,' said Rajoy in a transcript of the telegram distributed by Moncloa, the prime minister's palace.'We must remain united against these type of threats that affect all of us equally and that know no barriers,' Rajoy wrote, offering Spain's support to the UK.Israel, which that has faced a wave of Palestinian car ramming, stabbing and shooting assaults since 2015, also expressed solidarity with the victims of the London attack.Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in a statement. 'Israel expresses its deep shock at the terror attack in London today and its solidarity with the victims and with the people and government of Great Britain. Terror is terror wherever it occurs and we will fight it relentlessly.' ___2:50 p.m.One British lawmaker was hailed by some as a hero in Wednesday's attack on the British Parliament.Conservative parliamentarian and Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood, whose brother was killed in the Bali terror attack in 2002, performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the police officer who was stabbed and later died. About 10 yards away was the attacker who was shot dead by police after scaling the security wall toward Parliament's grounds.Ellwood, who served in the British military, applied pressure to the police officer's multiple lacerations.Photographs showed Ellwood's bloodied hands and face from the police officer's wounds while the alleged attacker was seen nearby. ___2:20 p.m.The White House is condemning the attacks in London involving a car rampage and knife attack. President Donald Trump is said to be monitoring developments.Spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May and said that the White House applauds 'the quick response of British police and first responders' and condemns the attacks.A vehicle mowed down pedestrians on a bridge and the attacker then stabbed a police officer outside the British Parliament. At least four people died, including the attacker and a police officer.Spicer says that the city of London and the British government have the 'full support' of the U.S. as they investigate the attack.The U.S. Homeland Security Department says the security posture in the United States has not changed in the wake of the attack.___2:15 p.m.The Italian interior ministry says the nation's top security and intelligence officials will huddle in Rome on Thursday for 'an evaluation of the terrorist threat' after the attacks in London.The ministry said minister Marco Minniti convened the Committee of Strategic Anti-terrorism Analyses following 'the tragic facts in London,' in which a vehicle mowed down pedestrians on a bridge and the attacker then stabbed a police officer outside the British Parliament. At least four people died, including the attacker and a police officer.Italian security was already on high alert for a European Union summit bringing EU nation leaders to Rome Friday for a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, and a ceremony in the Italian capital Saturday.Authorities are bracing for possible violence during several marches Saturday, drawing thousands of both pro-and anti-EU participants.2:15 p.m.Vice President Mike Pence tweeted about the attack: Thinking of victims and families in London and praying for everyone's safety.-- Vice President Pence (@VP) March 22, 2017 2:02 p.m. The head of counterterrorism at London's Metropolitan Police, says four people have died in the terror incident in London, including an attacker and a police officer.Mark Rowley says some 20 people have been wounded and Parliament was locked down. A search is underway to make certain no other attackers are in the area - though police believe there was only one attacker.Rowley said the dead policeman was one of the armed officers who guard Parliament. The other victims were on Westminster Bridge.Rowley says 'We are satisfied at this stage that it looks like there was only one attacker. But it would be foolish to be overconfident early on.'1:25 p.m.French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says that French high school students are among the wounded in the attack in London.In a tweet Wednesday, Cazeneuve offered support to the British as well as to 'the French students wounded, their families and their schoolmates.'London is a common destination for French school trips.___1:15 p.m.British port officials say they pulled a woman from the Thames River following the incident on Westminster Bridge.The Port of London Authority says a female member of the public was recovered from the river, injured but alive.The authority says it has closed the river between Vauxhall Bridge and Embankment while a major security operation is under way after a suspected terror attack at the Houses of Parliament in London.------1:10 p.m.Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a meeting of the government emergency committee to discuss the response to the terror incident in London.The emergency committee known as Cobra coordinates the high-level response to serious incidents. It brings together government ministers with senior officials of the emergency services and security and intelligence agencies.Such meetings are held after serious incidents such at the July 7, 2005, attack on London transport services. The Wednesday meeting is held in the briefing room of the Cabinet Office on Whitehall.___1:07 p.m.London's Metropolitan police release statement regarding the investigation into the attack: Full statement from Commander Harrington following the incident in #Westminster #London pic.twitter.com/vMPCXKq2Ft-- Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 22, 2017 ___1:05 p.m.The U.S. State Department says it is closely monitoring the incident outside London's Parliament and urged Americans in London to avoid the area.Spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday: 'We stand ready to assist in any way the U.K. authorities would find helpful.'He added that the U.S. Embassy in London is closely following the news and stands ready to help any affected Americans.He said: 'Our hearts go out to those affected.'___12:50 p.m.Witness Rick Longley told the Press Association that he saw a man stab a policeman outside Britain's Parliament.'We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out,' he said. 'They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben.'A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman.'I have never seen anything like that. I just can't believe what I just saw.'Lawmaker Adam Holloway told the AP he saw people running and immediately ran into his offices in Parliament to be with his staff. 'A lot of us are locked in with our staff at the moment,' he said.___12 p.m.The White House says U.S. President Donald Trump has been briefed on a gun and knife incident at Britain's Parliament in London.Trump himself said during a brief appearance Wednesday before reporters at the White House that he was just getting the news. He called it 'big news.'Trump's spokesman, Sean Spicer, says the U.S. will continue to monitor the situation and update the president.Britain's Parliament was on lockdown after - according to officials - an assailant stabbed an officer then was shot by police.London Police also said officers were called to an incident on nearby Westminster Bridge FULL STORY: Britain's Parliament was on lockdown Wednesday after an assailant stabbed an officer, then was shot by police, officials said. London Police also said officers were called to an incident on Westminster Bridge nearby.The UK Press Association reported that doctors said one woman has died and others have `catastrophic' injuries.London police say they are treating the gun and knife incident at Britain's Parliament 'as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.'On the bridge, witnesses said a vehicle struck several people, and photos showed a car plowed into railings. Witnesses in Parliament reported hearing sounds like gunfire.A British lawmaker says he heard four gunshots and was told to crawl for cover.Leader of the House of Commons David Lidington said an assailant at Parliament was shot and that there were reporters of further violent incidents in the vicinity.'The former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski posted a video on Twitter that seems to show people lying injured in the road on Westminster Bridge. TRENDING STORIES: Teacher accused of improper relationship with student smiles in mugshot School delays, closures due to storm damage Mother, daughter killed in home with baby inside, police say Sikorski, a senior fellow at the Harvard Centre for European Studies, says he saw at least five people lying on the ground after being 'mown down' by a car.Sikorski told the BBC he 'heard what I thought what I thought was just a collision and then I looked through the window of the taxi and someone down, obviously in great distress.'Then I saw a second person down, and I started filming, then I saw three more people down, one of them bleeding profusely.'Journalists there said they were told to stay in their offices. The Press Association news agency reported that two people were seen lying within the grounds of Parliament.George Eaton, a journalist with the New Statesman, said that from the window of Parliament's Press Gallery, he saw police shoot a man who charged at officers.'A large crowd was seen fleeing the man before he entered the parliamentary estate,' he wrote on the publication's website. 'After several officers evaded him he was swiftly shot by armed police.' We were called at approx 2:40pm to reports of an incident at #Westminster Bridge. Being treated as a firearms incident - police on scene-- Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 22, 2017
  • A 6,800-ton South Korean ferry emerged from the water on Thursday, nearly three years after it capsized and sank into violent seas off the country's southwestern coast, an emotional moment for the country that continues to search for closure to one of its deadliest disasters ever. More than 300 people — most of whom were students on a high school trip — died when the Sewol sank on April 16, 2014, touching off an outpouring of national grief and soul searching about long-ignored public safety and regulatory failures. The public outrage over what was seen as a botched rescue job by the government contributed to the recent ouster of Park Geun-hye as president. Workers on two barges began the salvaging operation Wednesday night, rolling up 66 cables connected to a frame of metal beams divers spent months putting beneath the ferry, which had been lying on its left side in about 44 meters (144 feet) of water. By 3:45 a.m., Sewol's stabilizer surfaced from the water. About an hour later, the blue-and-white right side of ferry, rusty and scratched and its name 'SEWOL' no longer visible from where it was, emerged for the first time in more than 1,000 days. By about 7 a.m., the ferry had been raised enough for workers to climb on it and further fasten it to the barges. Lee Cheoljo, an official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, told reporters that workers will need until late afternoon or the evening to raise the ferry until its upper side is about 13 meters (42 feet) above the surface. Workers had initially planned to do this by Thursday morning, but were forced to a temporarily halt when the ferry began rubbing against pulleys and other equipment on the barges as it came up, Lee said. He said workers will resume lifting the ferry once they finish balancing operations that could take several hours. Once Sewol is raised to the desired point, salvage crews will then load the ferry onto a semi-submersible, heavy-lift vessel that will carry it to a mainland port. The loading process, including emptying the ferry of water and fuel, is expected to take days. The bodies of 295 passengers were recovered after the sinking on April 16, 2014, but nine are still missing. Relatives, some of whom who are watching from two fishing boats just outside the operation area, are hoping that those remains will be found inside the ferry. 'I can see it. I can see where my daughter is,' Park Eun-mi, the mother of a missing 17-year-old girl, told a television crew as her boat approached the salvaging site on Wednesday. Lee Geum-hee, the mother of another missing student, said, 'We just want one thing — for the ship to be pulled up so that we can take our children home.' Once the ferry reaches a port 90 kilometers (55 miles) away in the city of Mokpo, in about two weeks, workers will begin clearing the mud and debris and search for the remains of the missing victims. An investigation committee will also be formed to search for clues that could further explain the cause of the sinking, which has been blamed on overloaded cargo, improper storage and other negligence. A group representing the families of the victims issued a statement demanding that it be part of the investigation committee. Many bereaved family members and their supporters have been demanding a more thorough investigation into the government's responsibility over the sinking, questioning why higher-level officials have not been held accountable. The ferry's captain survived and is serving a life sentence after a court found him guilty of committing homicide through 'willful negligence' because he fled the ship without issuing an evacuation order. Park was forced to defend herself against accusations that she was out of contact for several hours on the day of the sinking. The allegations were included in an impeachment bill lawmakers passed against Park in December, amid broader corruption suspicions. Park was formally removed from office by the Constitutional Court earlier this month. She is now under criminal investigation over suspicions that she conspired with a confidante to extort money and favors from companies and allow the friend to secretly interfere with state affairs. Salvaging the huge, corroded ferry from a channel notorious for dangerous currents has been a difficult and expensive job. South Korea agreed in 2015 to an 85.1 billion won ($76 million) deal with a consortium led by China's state-run Shanghai Salvage Co. to do it. While many large shipwrecks around the world have first been cut into sections to be raised, this was never an option for Sewol because there are hopes of finding the remains of the missing victims inside the wreckage.

News

  • An Atlanta middle school student was taken to the hospital Wednesday after ingesting a “controlled substance,” according to school officials. The Young Middle School student was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta Public Schools spokeswoman Kimberly Willis Green said. The call came in about 2:50 p.m., officials said.  The APS Police Department is investigating the incident, Green said.  Other students were evaluated to see if they ingested the substance, Channel 2 Action News reported.  Parents of affected students were notified immediately, APS spokeswoman Pat St. Claire said. All parents are expected to get a robocall.  In other news:
  • Tasharina Fluker and her daughter had just gotten to their Lithonia townhome Wednesday morning from celebrating the mother’s birthday. No less than an hour after they arrived, police say Fluker’s boyfriend, Michael Thornton, shot and killed her and daughter Janazia Miles.  A family member found one of them in the middle of the doorway and Miles’ 8-month-old son unharmed, Channel 2 Action News reported. It is not known how the relative entered the home.  Police were called to the scene about 3 a.m. after getting a person-down call on the 2000 block of Parkway Trail. The women were found with “no signs of life,” DeKalb police Lt. Rod Bryant said.  Thornton was later found at another location, police said. They have not described his relationship to the women, but neighbors said Thornton and Fluker were in a relationship and lived at the home. Neighbor Trocon Talhouk told Channel 2 he heard the couple arguing in the middle of the night.  “He kept saying: ‘All I want to do is get in the house,’” Talhouk said. “And then, shortly after that, I heard a car speed off and (the) next thing you know fire trucks and police cars were pulling up.”  It wasn’t the first time neighbors had heard domestic incidents at the home, Talhouk said.  “According to neighbors, (the two) fight all the time and he’s always beating (her),” he told Channel 2.  Fluker also leaves behind two sons — one in middle school and another who attends Grambling State University on a football scholarship he earned while playing for Miller Grove High School, the station reported. Police have not released other details.  In other news:
  • The grandmother of a Gwinnett County toddler who died after being hit by a car in front of her house was arrested in connection with the incident, police said Wednesday. Gilma J. Ordonez-Guevara, 44, of Lawrenceville, is charged with vehicular homicide, hit-and-run, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and not having a license, Cpl. Michele Pihera said. Ordonez-Guevara was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail on Tuesday, Pihera said. She also is on an immigration hold by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to jail records. Ordonez-Guevara, who lives in the same Lawrenceville neighborhood as the toddler, initially denied being involved, police said. However, after investigators searched her SUV, evidence conflicted with her previous statements. Based on the second interview, police learned she hit the toddler, 23-month-old Valeria Leiba, as she was backing out of the driveway in the 1000 block of Memory Lane. Ordonez-Guevara did not know the child was behind her SUV, according to police. After the incident, Ordonez-Guevara carried her granddaughter inside the child’s home, got back in her SUV and drove to her own house. She left her SUV in the driveway and walked back to her granddaughter’s home. RELATED: Gwinnett toddler dies after being hit by car “There are not enough words to help bring solace to the victim’s family during such a tragic loss,” Pihera said. “We want the family to know that many people in Gwinnett and the surrounding communities are thinking of them during this difficult time.” In other news:
  • U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch vowed to uphold the law if confirmed to the nation’s highest court, not tipping his hand as he sidestepped controversial political subjects, as Gorsuch directly pushed back against President Donald Trump’s criticism of federal judges. “When anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity, the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening; I find that demoralizing,” Gorsuch said in response to questions from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “Anyone including the President of the United States?” Blumenthal pressed. “Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch replied. In a day of testimony that stretched for almost twelve hours, Gorsuch parried most questions from Democrats, who tried in vain to get him to reveal his views on issues like abortion, and items that might come before the Supreme Court, like President Trump’s travel ban. Gorsuch repeatedly refused to take the bait. “I can’t get involved in politics, and I think it would be very imprudent of judges to start commenting on political disputes,” Gorsuch said. Under questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gorsuch was asked what he had discussed with President Trump on the issue of abortion. “In that interview did he ever ask you to overrule Roe v Wade?” Graham asked. “No, Senator,” Gorsuch replied, adding that if the President had asked that question, “I would have walked out the door.” Gorsuch was pressed about the President in a number of different ways, telling Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that, “nobody is above the law in this country, and that includes the President of the United States.” With Republicans strongly in support of Gorsuch, there was already maneuvering behind the scenes over the expected floor fight in the Senate, as Democrats have made clear they think the GOP should be forced to get 60 votes for his nomination. That has prompted GOP leaders to criticize the threat of a filibuster. “If there aren’t 60 votes for a nominee like Neil Gorsuch it’s appropriate to ask the question is there any nominee any Republican president could make that Democrats would approve,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Gorsuch’s lengthy day of testimony ended on a light note, as Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) suggested to Gorsuch that he have a cocktail before bed. “Just don’t drink vodka,” Kennedy said to chuckles from the audience. Kennedy then drew even more laughter by adding in one more surprise. “You never been to Russia, have you?” “I’ve never been to Russia,” a smiling Gorsuch said.