New York City, New York

The man accused of New York’s deadliest terror attack since 9/11 pleaded not guilty to 22 federal counts on Tuesday.

Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, is charged with killing eight people and injuring a dozen others by driving a pickup truck down a bicycle path near the World Trade Center on Halloween. Saipov, who appeared in court wearing a navy blue jumpsuit and with ankle shackles but no handcuffs, walked with an apparent slight limp into federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon. During his initial appearance in early November, he had used a wheelchair. Saipov listened to the proceedings with the aide of an Uzbek translator. He only spoke when Judge Vernon Broderick asked him if he could hear the interpretor. Saipov answered «yes.» His federal defender, David Patton, entered the not guilty plea on Saipov’s behalf. Saipov will appear in court next on January 23.
A 22-count indictment released November 21charges Saipov with eight counts of murder in aid of racketeering, 12 counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering, one count of providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS and one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle. He was arrested after the truck hit a school bus, stopping the rented vehicle in its tracks. Saipov exited the vehicle and an officer shot him.
Saipov came to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010. He told investigators he was inspired by ISIS videos to use a truck in the attack «to inflict maximum damage against civilians,» according to a complaint. Investigators searched two of his cell phones and found about 90 videos and 3,800 pictures, many of which were ISIS-related propaganda.
In particular, Saipov said he was motivated to proceed with his plan after watching a video of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi questioning «what Muslims in the United States and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.» He thought about displaying an ISIS flag in the truck, according to the complaint, but decided against it to
avoid drawing attention to himself, he told investigators. He also asked to display an ISIS flag in his hospital room after the attack, the complaint states.

News Source: © 2017 Cable News Network.,Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.All Rights Reserved. CNN Sans TM & © 2016 Cable News Network

Washington, District of Columbia

A GOP-led tax bill cleared another hurdle in the Senate Tuesday as the
Senate Budget Committee voted along party lines to advance the proposal
to the full floor of the upper chamber. The Senate Budget Committee’s 12-11 vote was widely considered to be a formality, though questions still lingered as several Republican lawmakers have declined to openly back the bill as it currently stands.
An extra layer of tension was added Tuesday by the presence of several protesters chanting «Kill this bill, do not kill me» and «Shame,» at some points stalling committee proceedings as police officers removed them from the room. Despite intraparty differences related to the tax bill’s treatment of small businesses, pass-through
companies and government debt, failure to advance the plan to the Senate floor on Tuesday would have been disastrous for a Republican leadership aiming to iron out legislation in time for Christmas. «I think way too much has been placed on the committee today. The committee issue is not particularly important, candidly,» Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told Fox News Tuesday morning ahead of the committee’s vote. «It just really determines what’s germaine on the floor and what is not.» Corker is one of several Republican senators still believed to be on the fence. He, along with Sen. Ron
Johnson, R-Wisc., both sit on the budget committee and voted to advance the bill. But their concerns have yet to be addressed, so a vote to advance the bill doesn’t necessarily guarantee a vote to pass it in the full Senate.

The votes were cast shortly after President Trump traveled to Capitol Hill and attended a lengthy meeting with GOP senators, attempting to rally support behind the measure. At that meeting, the president reportedly offered to endorse both the Alexander-Murray health care bill and a reinsurance bill backed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a bid to get some of the Republican holdouts on board – provided they keep repeal of the individual mandate in Obamacare in the final bill. With just a 52-48 seat majority in the upper chamber, Republicans can only afford to lose two of their own, with Vice President Mike Pence waiting in the wings to cast a tiebreaking vote. And especially after
their health care repeal embarrassment earlier this year, GOP leaders have been desperate to get everyone on the same page and avoid a similar fate. «It’s a challenging exercise,» Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday shortly before the budget committee’s vote. McConnell said he’s felt like he’s been fiddling with «a Rubik’s cube trying to get to 50» votes needed to pass the tax bill through reconciliation.
The full Senate is expected to begin tax deliberations as soon as Wednesday. The Joint Committee on Taxation indicated earlier this week in a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., that it is rushing to get a dynamic scoring model of the Senate’s bill distributed to lawmakers by «late Wednesday.» That dynamic model could offer more details of exactly how the plan will impact Americans and the broader economy just hours before a possible Thursday vote.

News Source: Copyright 2017 © U.S. News & World Report L.P.

 

Tampa, Florida

Tampa police arrest possible serial killer in Seminole Heights.
Former homicide detective and Fox News contributor Ted Williams talks to police Chief Brian Dugan about the investigation into multiple murders.
Authorities in Tampa, Fla., said Tuesday that they have arrested a man who will face murder charges in connection with four killings that sent chills through the Seminole Heights community and sparked fears of a serial killer.
Howell Donaldson III was arrested at a McDonald’s restaurant in Ybor City, based on a tip given to Tampa police,Tampa’s FOX 13 reported. He will face murder charges in connection with all four killings, Stephen Hegarty, the Tampa Police Department’s public safety information coordinator, told Fox News.Police believe Donaldson acted alone, Hegarty said. Residents in working-class Seminole Heights have been on edge since Oct. 9, when 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was shot to death. Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was slain. And on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. The latest victim to be gunned down was remembered by family and friends Saturday for his passion for helping others. Ronald Felton, 60, was shot dead Nov. 14 as he was walking to volunteer at a food pantry in Seminole Heights.
«If you knew him, you seen his caring service. He was the Superman of service,” one man said at Felton’s memorial service, FOX 13 reported. “I was the supervisor at the food bank, but he was the one in charge.» All of the October victims were either getting on or off a city bus, or were at a bus stop when they were slain, police said.

News Source: ©2017 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved-

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Teens wanted in death of homeless man in Philadelphia.
Several teenagers who were allegedly looking to rob a 57-year-old homeless man in Philadelphia arewanted in that man’s death, police said.
While police did not say how the homeless man died, ABC’s Philadelphia station WPVI reported that he was allegedly beaten to death.
A woman who said she heard the attack outside her home told WPVI, «They hit his head into the wall so hard that I felt it in my house, on the second floor.»
The incident was reported on Sunday shortly before 6 p.m. when officers responded to a robbery in progress, the Philadelphia Police Department said.
The responding officers found a man — who police believe was homeless — unconscious on the ground. Homeless man stabbed to death with 3-foot sword, suspect arrested
The woman, who identified herself only as Donna, told WPVI that when she ran out to help, she saw the victim with his pockets turned inside out.
She also told WPVI the teenagers were running away and laughing, «Saying, ‘We got him.'» The victim, 57-year-old Kevin Cullen, was taken to a hospital and died shortly before 7 a.m. Monday, police said. The victim’s eldest brother, Tom Cullen, told WPVI, «We didn’t get to see him too often. He would come in and out of our lives. But he was not abandoned. He was not unloved. He was loved deeply.» His death is being investigated by the homicide unit and police say the motive for the attack is likely
robbery. Police said the suspects are teenagers but did not confirm how many suspects there are. No arrests have been made.

News Source: Yahoo!-ABC News Network | © 2017 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved-

Reno, Nevada

Gunman who fired shots from high-rise condo in downtown Reno is dead,
authorities say. Law enforcement block downtown Reno streets during an active shooter response at the Montage apartment building, Nov. 28, 2017. (Andy Barron / The Reno Gazette-Journal)Associated Press
A gunman with a hostage opened fire from the eighth floor of a luxury high-rise condominium in Reno onto the streets below, authorities said. No injuries were reported.
The man died Tuesday night after a SWAT team descended on him while he was barricaded at the Montage condo complex, Reno Police Deputy Chief Tom Robinson told reporters. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he was killed by police gunfire or his own. No one else, including the hostage, was hurt. The gunman’s name has not been released. Robinson described him only as a young adult. The luxury high-rise is surrounded by some of downtown Reno’s most popular casinos, and the gunfire brought eerie echoes of the Las Vegas shooting two months earlier that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more. During Tuesday’s attack, the Reno streets were mostly empty on a cold weeknight.
Stephen Paddock, the man who opened fire Oct. 1 from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas onto an outdoor concert below, had owned a unit at the Montage. Records show he sold the property in December 2016. «When you heard it’s coming from above, it reminds you of the guy shooting from Mandalay Bay,» said
Mike Pavicich, who was in town on business from Las Vegas and was standing atop a parking garage at the neighboring Eldorado Resort Casino when the shots rang out.
«It’s scary, you know?» Pavicich told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. «This is the same kind of town.» The Montage building was once a casino before it was converted into luxury condos, according to its website.

Trooper Chris Kelley of the Nevada Highway Patrol told the Reno Gazette-Journal that shots were heard from the building for at least 20 minutes, and TV news reporters said they heard several shots after arriving, though the shots were sporadic, not constant.
Paddock modified an AR-15 rifle to loose a stream of constant bullets like an automatic weapon in the attack in Las Vegas, which is 350 miles southeast.

News Source: Los Angeles Times, 202 West 1st Street, California 90012 | Copyright © 2017-

Austin, Texas

Texas man gets more than 1,000 years in prison for sexually abusing 2
girls. A Central Texas man has been sentenced to more than 1,000 years in prison — on top of two life terms — after being convicted of sexually abusing two young girls for years. Robert Benjamin Franks, 48, of San Marcos was convicted Monday on 17 counts.
A Hays County jury sentenced him to life for each of two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child, 99 years for each of nine counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and 20 years for each of six counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact.

In addition to the two life sentences plus 1,011 years in prison, Franks was ordered to pay a fine of $93,000. Franks was arrested in June 2016 when one of the victims, a 9-year-old girl, told her father that he had been doing «disgusting things» to her and a 10-year-old girl, the San Antonio Express News reported. The other girl initially denied having been abused but later told authorities that Franks had assaulted her for years.
«Words cannot really express the depth of the betrayal and outrage warranted by conduct like this, committed by a man who should have been caring for and protecting these children,» Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said in a prepared statement. «The jury’s sentence speaks more eloquently than I can to make clear how our community feels about crimes like these.»

News Source: ©2017, The Dallas Morning News Inc. All Rights Reserved.-

 

Chicago, Illinois

Emanuel takes next step toward O’Hare express train.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking another step in his plan to build an express train from downtown to O’Hare International Airport by putting out a government version of a casting call. The city on Wednesday will issue a Request for Qualifications, or RFQ, for respondents to offer their credentials to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an express service through a public-private partnership with Chicago. The express train is one of the mayor’s transportation priorities — this year, he set a three-year goal to
start building high-speed service to O’Hare, but it is unclear how it would get done.
The cost of the project is unknown, although an industry source familiar with the planning has said it could run between $1 billion and $3 billion. The RFQ stipulates that there would no taxpayer funding and that the service would be paid for only by project-specific revenues, such as fares and advertising, and financed by whoever gets the concession, according to a news release from the mayor’s office. The project has long seemed like a pipe dream. More than a decade ago, Mayor Richard M. Daley 37 shopping center on top of a high-speed rail station. The CTA and the city put more than $250 million into
a hole in the ground before work stopped in 2008. Emanuel officials and some transportation experts say the city needs express service to its biggest airport
in order to be competitive in the world travel market. The CTA already offers rapid transit to O’Hare, though the imagined express service would be about twice as fast.
“Express service to and from O’Hare will give Chicagoans and visitors to our great city more options, faster travel time, and build on Chicago’s competitive advantage as a global hub of tourism, transportation and trade,” Emanuel said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the city hired Bob Rivkin, a former general counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation, who led the effort to study demand for ridership and potential terminal locations as well as possible routes and alignments.
In an interview, Rivkin said the city set out in its RFQ three potential routes, though it is not limiting respondents to those routes. One would follow the current Blue Line route along the Kennedy Expressway; another could be along the Metra North Central route; and the third could be a combination of freight rail rights of way that would go west from downtown south of the Eisenhower Expressway out to Forest Park, and then turn north toward O’Hare. The RFQ was issued by both the city and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, which Emanuel created to spearhead public-private partnerships. The RFQ specifies that the express service should include a downtown station, an O’Hare station and one maintenance facility. Under the terms of the request, the service should have travel times of 20 minutes or less with a reliable service frequency of at least every 15 minutes for most of the day with “premium” fares that cost less than the cost of current taxi and ride-hailing services. The concept is supposed to appeal to busy travelers who want a quick trip, do not want to ride the CTA and would be willing to pay more than an “L” ride for the privilege — possibly $25 or more.

Similar express trains operate in Toronto, Hong Kong, London and Tokyo. Any proposal must also address how to handle potential conflicts or impacts on existing transportation systems and the environment, the city said.
The city will consider potential routes above or below surface level, it said in a news release. This past summer, Emanuel talked with entrepreneur Elon Musk about the possibility of the technology investor using a high-tech digger to bore out an underground high-speed rail line. Rivkin said he would rather not talk about any individual potential investor. He said the city hopes Musk or any of his companies would be interested, and there are also competitors who might be interested. Responses to the RFQ are due Jan. 24, the city said. The city and the Infrastructure Trust will select one or more respondents they consider most qualified to respond to a subsequent Request for Proposals.
Asked when the project could begin, Rivkin said it depends on the responses it gets back.
“We would not be doing this unless we thought we could make it happen,” he said.

News Source: Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune

Nikos Mizas, Editor

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