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World News

    Polish officials on Thursday criticized the claim of a U.S. congressman that a new Polish law glorifies Nazi collaborators and denies the Holocaust. The charge was made by Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, one of two congressmen leading a bipartisan effort urging the U.S. State Department to pressure Poland and Ukraine to combat state-sponsored anti-Semitism. 'Our government should be concerned with the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Poland. Both countries recently passed laws glorifying Nazi collaborators and denying the Holocaust,' Khanna wrote Wednesday. In the Polish case, Khanna referred to a new law that makes it a crime to blame Poland for the Holocaust crimes of Nazi Germany. The law has sparked criticism in the U.S. and particularly in Israel, where some fear its aim is to quash discussions about Polish anti-Semitic violence during the German occupation in World War II. However, even critics to date have not tried to argue that the law glorifies Nazism. Andrzej Pawluszek, an adviser to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Khanna's words were 'irresponsible and shocking.' Polish deputy foreign minister Bartosz Cichocki retorted Wednesday on Twitter: 'Sir, I would appreciate if you indicated a single law passed in my homeland Poland (recently or not), which glorifies Nazi collaborators and/or denies Holocaust.' In a separate post, he added: 'Equally, I would love to learn what exactly your government did to combat (the) Holocaust after being requested to do so by the Polish government-in-exile.' During Germany's occupation of Poland during the war, the Polish government-in-exile struggled to warn the world of the mass killing of Jews — a message that was largely ignored. The Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum also weighed in, saying 'there is no law in Poland that would glorify collaborators of the German Nazis or that would deny the Holocaust.' The AP made attempts by phone and email seeking comment from Khanna, but received no response.
  • Strangers in Canada's largest city shared hugs Thursday, and they shed tears together. And many wondered if diverse and cosmopolitan Toronto will be forever altered by a 25-year-old man's deadly rampage with a van along a crowded sidewalk. Hundreds of people have gathered shoulder-to-shoulder daily since Monday's rampage, when the driver of a rental van plowed into people along a mile of busy Yonge Street, killing 10 and injuring 14, in what police say was a deliberate attack. Police quickly took the suspect, Alek Minassian, into custody but a deep sense of grief and unease has gripped many of those clustered around a makeshift memorial near the site of the incident. 'I hope it's for the better, but I just think Toronto will never go back to the way it was,' said Brenda Somer, a retired nurse who said she stopped at the memorial to say a prayer. 'The innocence is lost, but people are sharing this pain, sharing this grief,' Somer said. Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 of attempted murder but has not yet entered a plea. Investigators say an additional attempted murder charge is expected soon. Police say that shortly before the attack the suspect posted a Facebook message indicating anger toward women, but have declined to reveal what they believe was the motive for the attack. Authorities have not released the names of those killed or injured, something the coroner's office said at the start of the week would take several days because of the complexity of identifying mass casualties amid an intensive criminal investigation. Still, names of the victims have begun to emerge from families and friends reeling with grief. They have included people from a variety of backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of the city. They include a single mother from Sri Lanka, a chef from South Korea, an elderly man visiting from Jordan and an 80-year-old Canada-born grandmother. Teacher Maria Vecchiarelli said she hopes the camaraderie that has followed the tragedy will continue and make people more tolerant. 'We're here to make sure we respect the lost lives,' Vecchiarelli told The Associated Press after leading a group of students from nearby St. Edward Catholic School through a hymn and prayer at the memorial. An employee of the school was a sister of one of the victims — Anne Marie D'Amico, a 30-year-old who worked at the offices of an investment company near the site of the rampage and was known for volunteer work with athletic organizations. Her family issued a statement calling her someone with a 'generous heart' who sought to help people. 'She genuinely wanted to care for all those around her even if it meant sacrificing a portion of herself in return for others' happiness,' it said. 'Let her legacy live on by helping others and make the world a better place.' Also killed was 80-year-old Dorothy Sewell, whose grandson confirmed her death Tuesday. Elwood Delaney of Kamloops, British Columbia, described his grandmother as an avid sports fan and 'the best grandmother anyone could have asked for.' Munir Alnajjar, a Jordanian citizen in his 70s who was visiting family in Toronto with his wife also died in the attack just weeks after arriving, said Harry Malawi, a family friend and president of the Jordanian Canadian Society. Chul Min 'Eddie' Kang was an employee at a Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouses restaurant in Toronto whose death was confirmed by the company. Kang's friend Kevin Panlilio said he regretted not getting together more often and called Kang 'the type of person that sheds light on people.' Ahangama Rathanasiri, a monk at the Toronto Maha Vihara Buddhist Meditation Centre, said the brutality of the attack that claimed one of their members left many questioning the safety of the country they now call home. Renuka Amarasingha, a 48-year-old school food services worker and an active member of Toronto's Sri Lankan community left behind a 7-year-old son, for whom she was the sole caregiver. 'We think that Canada was a peaceful country, (but) that is a doubt we have if people do these kinds of things,' said Rathansiri.
  • Protesters on Thursday urged ethnically-split Cyprus' government and breakaway Turkish Cypriot authorities to step up their protests against a nuclear power plant Russia is building on Turkey's Mediterranean coastline. Around 250 Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot protesters on Thursday linked arms across a 250-foot (75-meter) stretch of U.N. controlled buffer zone splitting the capital Nicosia to protest against the plant they say could pose a grave threat to Cyprus and the region because it'll be built in a seismic region. Protesters banged a drum emblazoned with the radiation hazard symbol and held a banner reading 'No to nuclear power' in Greek, Turkish and English. Left-wing parties and environmental groups from both sides of the divide staged the protest on the 32nd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It also came three weeks after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin launched the start of construction of the $20 billion plant at Akkuyu, around 60 miles (96 kilometers) from Cyprus' northern shoreline. It's expected to be completed by 2023. Greek Cypriot Charalambos Theopemptou, a Greens Party lawmaker, said the Cyprus government should get the European Union to take up the issue with Turkey which aims to join the bloc. Greens Party leader George Perdikis said his party petitioned Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to pursue drafting a joint declaration against the plant with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, but without result. Turkish Cypriot school teachers' union boss Sener Elcil said many Turkish Cypriots know the risks and oppose the plant, but their leaders must end their silence and take a stand in order to marshal public support. The Cyprus government said earlier this month that it would lodge protests against the plant's construction. Turkey's 1974 invasion in the wake of a coup aiming at union with Greece divided Cyprus along ethnic lines.
  • More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. Participants at an international conference in Paris vowed to improve international coordination and enhance transparency of financial flows. In a final declaration, they agreed to 'fully criminalize' terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions 'even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.' The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar were all present. Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the U.S., welcomed the decision of participants to form a coalition with the aim of choking off financing for IS and al-Qaida. 'Our enemies are mobile and innovative. They are all the time changing tactics ... they use all the modern technologies,' he stressed in his closing speech. 'That is why we must combat (them) with total determination.' Macron praised efforts of participants to cooperate despite their differences of approach and competing interests. Thursday's meeting included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Persian Gulf. Macron said 'too many countries have nourished movements with direct or indirect links to terrorism.' There will be 'no more ambiguity' regarding IS and al-Qaida, he insisted. Experts and ministers attending the conference noted terror groups are using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations. They called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations. Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words would be put into action. 'When we have information — for example the U.N. list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,' Lewis told The Associated Press. The French organizers noted that IS military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with al-Qaida —especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa. IS has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. IS revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president's office. French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio that IS uses micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money. Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to IS over the last two years, he said. Money, he said, went to '320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.' Funding to extremist groups in the Middle East once flowed freely across the region's informal money-transfer shops and in donations made in mosques when traveling clerics issued special appeals during sermons. In recent years, the U.S. and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources. However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states. Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules, as has Saudi Arabia. Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia. ___ Jon Gambrell in Dubai contributed to this report.
  • Flash floods killed nine Israeli teenagers who were hiking south of the Dead Sea on Thursday, Israel's rescue service said. The casualties were all 18 years old. Israeli media said eight of the fatalities were female and one was male. Police said another hiker is still missing. Earlier, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said 25 students in a pre-army course were 'caught off guard' and some were 'washed away' by heavy rains while they were hiking in the area. Rosenfeld said 15 hikers were rescued. The horrific incident was seen as a national tragedy in Israel. President Reuven Rivlin said on Twitter: 'The state of Israel is mourning the loss of young promising lives in the heavy disaster.' He said Israel 'embraces' the grieving families and wished the injured a speedy recovery. The downpour caused parts of Israel's security barrier with the West Bank to collapse, Rosenfeld also said. Police and army helicopters were deployed to search for the missing member of the group. But search operations were suspended by nightfall until the morning due to harsh conditions, police said. The Dead Sea, the world's lowest point at about 1,400 feet below sea level, is surrounded by desert and generally arid cliffs. Rain can come rushing down the steep descents, causing sudden and violent torrents in otherwise dry spots. Heavy rainfall has fallen sporadically over the past two days.
  • Researchers have made a rare discovery - a medieval woman who died while pregnant who also had  early form of neurosurgery, as well as,  a coffin birth. A young woman, who experts believe was between the ages of 25 and 35 years old, had a surgery called trepanation and they think it was done only a week before she died sometime in the seventh or eighth century. Trepanation is when a hole is drilled into the skull of a living person. If it was not drilled, the hole was scrapped in the skull. Either way, the hole would be used to treat pain due to trauma or neurological disease, the BBC reported. >> Read more trending news  Skulls with trepanation holes have been found all over the world, the BBC reported. The woman was 38 weeks pregnant when she died, CNN reported. Researchers found the bones of a fetus along with the woman’s remains in the brick coffin. They say the baby was a coffin birth or a rare occurrence when the gases that build up during decomposition expel the baby. Researchers say to find both the coffin birth and the trepanation, especially trepanation during the European early middle ages, in one person’s remains is extremely rare, CNN reported.  The study concerning the woman’s remains, which were discovered in 2010, was recently published in the journal for World Neurology. Doctors don’t know why she had the brain procedure, but speculate that she may have had pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, and that it was used to relieve pressure she had in her head. Bone healing around the hole in her skull shows that she lived about a week after she had the procedure, CNN reported. The woman, doctors said, was in good health, but she may have had an illness that wouldn’t be reflected in her skeleton. They also are not sure if the baby would have been able to be born alive, but it was late in the pregnancy, as the baby was about 38 weeks, CNN reported.
  • The Trump administration will end special protections for an estimated 9,000 Nepalese immigrants in the United States, giving them until June 24, 2019, to leave or find another way to stay in the country, the Department of Homeland Security said Thursday. They were granted that status during the Obama administration after an April 2015 earthquake killed more than 8,000 people in Nepal, and it was extended for 18 months in October 2016. But Homeland Security said that after a review of the 'environmental disaster-related conditions upon which the country's original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist,' Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen decided the protections were no longer warranted. The U.S. created Temporary Protected Status in 1990 to provide a safe haven for citizens of countries affected by war and natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. The status currently shields several hundred thousand people from 10 countries. It generally includes authorization to work. The decision on Nepal probably will be felt most acutely in New York and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which had the largest Nepalese immigrant communities in the United States in 2015 with 9,000 each, according to the Pew Research Center. Washington, San Francisco, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, also have large communities. Since taking office, Trump has ended special protections for citizens of several countries, including El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti after determining that once-perilous conditions no longer preclude citizens from returning home. Nielsen faces an early May deadline on whether to extend protections for an estimated 57,000 Hondurans living in the United States. Last year, the administration put a final decision on Honduras on hold. The decision on Nepal was met with anger from immigration activist, including Amanda Baran of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. 'This White House has yet again turned its back on vulnerable people that our nation pledged to protect,' she said in a statement, adding that: 'Terminating TPS for our Nepali brothers and sisters and forcing their return to a country still recovering from a devastating earthquake is unfounded and heartless.' ___ Spagat reported from San Diego. ___ Follow Spagat and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/elliotspagat and https://twitter.com/colvinj
  • The Latest on the Paris conference on combating terror financing (all times local): 7:25 p.m. French President Emmanuel Macron has welcomed the decision of more than 70 countries to form a coalition with the aim of choking off financing for the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. In the closing speech of a two-day conference in Paris, Macron praised efforts of participants to agree to cooperate against a 'common enemy' despite their differences of approach and competing interests. He called for more transparency and political mobilization on the issue. Thursday's meeting included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Persian Gulf. Macron stressed 'too many countries have nourished movements with direct or indirect links to terrorism.' He said there will be 'no more ambiguity' regarding IS and al-Qaida. The conference gathered top officials from Western countries, the Arab world and other nations as well as representatives of 18 international organizations. ___ 4:50 p.m. More than 70 countries have committed to reinforcing their domestic and collective efforts to combat financing for the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. Participants at an international conference in Paris agree in a final declaration it is necessary to 'fully criminalize' terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions 'even in the absence of links with a specific terrorist act.' The event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long term. Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the tech industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations. Participants say a similar conference will be held next year in Australia. ___ 9:30 a.m. Ministers from more than 70 countries are discussing ways to combat financing for the Islamic State group and Al-Qaida at an international conference in Paris. The initiative was launched by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long term. A string of attacks have killed 245 people in France since January 2015 and dozens of others have been thwarted. The French organizers noted that IS military defeats on the ground don't prevent the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with Al-Qaida —especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa. Thursday's meeting gathers ministers of justice, finance, foreign affairs and the interior from Western countries, the Arab world and other nations as well as representatives of 18 international organizations.
  • Greek authorities have released from custody one of the eight Turkish servicemen who fled to the country in a military helicopter seeking asylum, just after Turkey's failed military coup in 2016. The pilot, who has not been officially named, will be subject to strict restrictions on his movements pending a decision on his asylum application. The case has soured relations between regional rivals Greece and Turkey. Greek courts have rejected Turkish demands for the eight men's extradition to face charges of allegedly participating in the coup. Judges ruled that the eight would not get a fair trial in Turkey. The serviceman's release Thursday follows a Supreme Court decision last week that said he must remain at an undisclosed address and appear daily at a police station.
  • Prosecutors have dropped charges against two Canadian pilots accused of preparing to fly a commercial aircraft while under the influence of alcohol after their blood samples were mistakenly destroyed at a Scottish prison. Prosecutors say there will be no further action against Imran Syed, 39, and Jean-Francois Perreault, 41, who were arrested July 18, 2016, before they were to pilot an Air Transat flight from Glasgow to Toronto. Authorities say Syed, from Toronto, allegedly had 49 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. Perreault, from the province of Ontario, allegedly had 32 milligrams. Both men denied the charges. The flight eventually took off with a different crew the next morning after about 250 passengers spent the night at hotels. 'We are working with Police Scotland to ensure there are proper processes and guidance in place covering the retention and storage of samples when an accused person is remanded in custody,' prosecutors said. Air Transat had suspended the pilots but they will be reinstated because they have been 'declared innocent,' the airline said. 'We will be meeting with them in the next few days to plan their reinstatement since there is no charge against them and we have no evidence that they have broken any law nor our internal rules,' the airline said. 'They will need to undergo retraining and requalification as per applicable legislation, and we will put in place measures to ensure that their behavior is exemplary.

News

  • An 17-year-old faces a vehicular homicide charges nearly a month after police said she crashed a car, killing her classmate on senior skip day.  Prosecutors said Cristina Pavon-Baker was driving at 106 mph when she crashed a Mini Cooper into a tree and killed 18-year-old passenger Makayla Penn, Channel 2 Action News reported.  The March 26 crash occurred on I-75 North at the Jonesboro Road exit in Clayton County. The vehicle, “traveling at a high rate of speed,” failed to navigate the turn on the exit ramp, went airborne, overturned several times and ended up hitting a tree, uprooting it in a wooded area, the GSP said at the time of the crash. Pavon-Baker was cut out of the car and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for her injuries.  Prosecutors said Pavon-Baker was on Snapchat before the crash.  The two girls attended Community Christian School and were participating in senior skip day at the time of the crash.  The judge gave Pavon-Baker a $31,000 bond and ordered her to surrender her passport, Channel 2 reported. She was also ordered to not drive and to stay off of Snapchat. 
  • Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, has withdrawn his name from consideration, multiple news outlets are reporting. >> MORE COVERAGE: Embattled VA nominee Ronny Jackson accused of drunken driving, drug use | Jamie Dupree: Trump pick to head VA in trouble as Senators postpone hearing | Senate postpones hearing for Trump VA pick Ronny Jackson amid 'serious allegations' | More trending news 
  • The Latest on a Wisconsin refinery explosion that injured several people (all times local): 2:15 p.m. Authorities have expanded the evacuation zone around a Wisconsin refinery that was rocked by an explosion and are now saying anyone within a three-mile (five-kilometer) radius should leave. Douglas County authorities also say those in a 10-mile (16-kilometer) corridor south of the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior should leave due to smoke coming from the site. Evacuees are being told to gather at Yellowjacket Union at the University of Wisconsin-Superior or at Four Corners Elementary School in Superior. It isn't clear how many people the evacuation order will effect. The refinery is in an industrial area, but there's a residential neighborhood within a mile to the northeast. The corridor downwind to the south is sparsely populated. At least 11 people were injured in the Thursday morning blast. A spokeswoman for Essentia Health says one person was seriously injured, while another nine being treated at Essentia hospitals in Superior and nearby Duluth, Minnesota, have non-life-threatening injuries. St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth received one patient who is in fair condition. ___ 12:55 p.m. The number of people injured in a refinery explosion in Wisconsin has grown to at least 11. Essentia Health spokeswoman Maureen Talarico says five patients are being treated at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota. She says emergency room physicians describe those patients as awake and alert. Talarico says another five are being treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, Wisconsin, where the explosion happened. She says the extent of injuries is unknown. In Duluth, spokeswoman Jessica Stauber says St. Luke's Hospital is treating one person. She doesn't know the condition of that person. The explosion at the Husky Energy oil refinery happened Thursday morning. Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger has said there are no known fatalities. Panger earlier said the fire was out, but Superior police tweeted that the fire has reignited but that there is no need for residents to evacuate. ___ 12:10 p.m. Authorities now say five people have been taken to hospitals after an explosion rocked a large refinery in Wisconsin. Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger initially told The Associated Press that six were taken to hospitals in nearby Duluth, Minnesota, after the explosion Thursday at the Husky Energy oil refinery. The Superior Fire Department later updated that number to five. The fire chief says there are no known fatalities. Authorities don't know the extent of injuries. The fire is out. A contractor who was inside the building told WDIO television that the explosion sounded like 'a sonic boom' and that it happened when crews were working on shutting the plant down for repairs. Owned by Alberta-based Husky Energy, Wisconsin's only refinery produces gasoline, asphalt and other products. ___ 11:30 a.m. Several people have been injured in an explosion at a refinery in Wisconsin. Authorities in Superior say the explosion at the Husky Energy oil refinery happened at about 10 a.m. Thursday. Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger says six people were taken to hospitals in Duluth, Minnesota. He doesn't know the extent of their injuries. Others were walking wounded. There are no known fatalities. A contractor who was inside the building told WDIO television that the explosion sounded like 'a sonic boom' that happened when crews were working on shutting the plant down for repairs. Panger says the fire was out by 11:20 a.m. Superior police are advising people to stay away from the area and roads around the refinery have been blocked off. There have been no neighborhood evacuations.
  • Opening your hotel room door with your cell phone? Disney has started to roll out the new technology for guests to skip the front desk and go directly to their room, speeding up the start of vacations. Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms. The theme park rolled out the technology at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Over the years, the My Disney Experience app has been an expanding feature of how guests navigate the parks and hotels. Previous story: Your smartphone could unlock Disney hotel rooms Guests can use it to check ride wait times and even clean up park photos. But guests can also use it to plan their hotel stay, skip the check-in desk, and go straight to their rooms. 'If you choose to, you can actually bypass the front desk area, if that's important to you, and start your vacation earlier,' Michael Trum, with Disney digital guest experience, said. Here’s how it works: Guests take their cellphones and hold it up to their hotel room door, and that’s when a little Disney magic happens. >> Read more trending news  'They're Bluetooth-enabled. Your phone, most smart phones. We've upgraded our locks to be Bluetooth enabled as well. So, they pair together, via security obviously,' Trum said. The technology can be used as a companion to the Magic Bands, which are required to get into the parks. Long gone are metal hotel room keys, and for the most part, even plastic key cards are gone. But, since most guests these days aren't far from their phones, the Bluetooth technology gives them a choice. Many people wonder whether the new technology is safe. Cellphone passcodes are notoriously hard to crack and Disney stands by the system. “We obviously designed this with security in mind. We can't go into details on Disney security policies, but our guests should absolutely feel safe using this as an entry point into their rooms,' Trum said. Disney is not the first to use the Bluetooth technology. Hilton and Marriot hotels have been using it for several years. The FBI said it has never had a case of hackers using phones to enter a hotel room in the U.S. Disney will expand the service to other hotels over the next several months.
  • New text messages obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News show a top aide to former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed pressuring other city officials to delay production of open records during Reed's final months in office. In unvarnished, sometimes vulgar comments, the texts reveal the mindset of senior Reed administration officials through the unguarded words of one of Reed's closest advisers and most ardent defenders, former communications director Anne Torres. We'll show you the text messages and explain how a simple request quickly turned into a dispute between Reed's office and the Atlanta BeltLine, on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m. The GBI opened a criminal investigation of the city's handling of open records requests last month after the AJC and Channel 2 reported on other text messages from former Reed press secretary Jenna Garland. Garland instructed another staffer 'to drag this out as long as possible' and provide information 'in the most confusing format available' in response to a Channel 2 open records request for city water billing records. The new texts from Torres show Garland's instructions to curtail production of records were not an isolated incident. Torres defended the remarks as 'inter-employee banter.' This article was written by Scott Trubey, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Several fired and still working bus drivers gathered in front of Dekalb County School headquarters on Thursday to discuss their demands for a better work environment. Five of the eight divers who were let go one week ago, were back at the district’s offices demanding their jobs back. The press conference was held a half-hour before Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green was to meet with a hand-full of current drivers. Also in attendance, parents, grandparents and current drivers who were there in support of fired drivers like Melanie. “I stand here with the support of hundreds of drivers, parents, students and community members, and I say without hesitation, give us our jobs back.” Said Melanie.