Monday December 10, 2018

Judge Dismisses Toprani Challenge
A decision has been reached in a challenge over the results of the race for the seat in the 49 th Legislative District currently held by Republican Bud Cook. Washington County Judge Gary Gilman issued his order Monday, dismissing a petition in which Cook’s challenger, Democrat Steve Toprani, sought to have more than thirty votes counted. Once all votes had been counted after the November General Election, Cook was leading Toprani by eleven votes. Gilman ruled that Toprani’s petition was “fatally defective” because it did not meet statutory requirements regarding the number of electors supporting Toprani’s claims. Toprani won the race in Washington County but lost to Cook in Fayette County.

Anti-Semitic Papers Near Shooting Site
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Authorities are investigating the dissemination of anti-Semitic pamphlets in Pittsburgh neighborhoods, including the one in which a gunman killed 11 people in a synagogue in October. A spokesman said police and the city department of public safety "are taking this matter very seriously and will follow every investigative avenue." Police said Sunday morning the material was found in neighborhoods including Squirrel Hill, where a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27 and killed 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. A man who authorities said raged against Jews during and after the shooting has pleaded not guilty to numerous murder and hate crime charges. Police said "such hate-filled material" will not be tolerated in the city by residents, city officials or law enforcement.

Road Rage Shooting On Bridge
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Authorities say a man was grazed in the head by a bullet in an apparent road rage shooting in Pittsburgh over the weekend. Pittsburgh police say the driver said he was crossing the Fort Duquesne Bridge on the city's North Side at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday when he apparently angered another driver. Police say the other driver fired a single shot at the man, grazing the top of his head and shattering the front driver and passenger windows. Officers found the injured man at a gas station being treated by emergency medical technicians. He was taken to a local hospital and listed in stable condition. No arrests were immediately announced.

5 Children Dead In Youngstown Fire
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - An investigation is underway after a deadly house fire killed five children late Sunday night in Youngstown. Five children are dead after a house at 434 Parkcliffe Avenue caught fire around 11:30 p.m. Their mother is currently in St. Elizabeth Hospital being treated for her injuries. According to reports, a neighbor called 9-1-1 and alerted authorities about the fire. Sources say the mother jumped out of a window and told firefighters at the scene that five children were still inside the burning home. Firefighters battled flames at the front part of the home and then immediately searched for the children – who are said to be between the ages of 1 and 9 years old. Rescuers were able to get three of the five children out of the structure. Those children were given CPR and they – along with their mother – were taken to St. Elizabeth's hospital in Youngstown. The three children that were pulled from the house by rescuers later died at St. Elizabeth Hospital due to their injuries.

Man Charged After Gun Fires; Kills Teen
NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) - Police say an involuntary manslaughter charge has been filed against a western Pennsylvania man who was unloading a gun that went off, killing a 15-year-old youth. New Castle police said the youth and a friend went to a home to meet other friends at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Police said a man met them at the door with a gun and let them in, but as he removed the weapon's magazine and began to clear the chamber, it discharged, hitting 15-year-old Zach Mulford (pictured). Police said the man fled but later turned himself in and showed officers where to find the weapon, which police said had been stolen. Nineteen-year-old Kyle Harris is charged in Lawrence County with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and receiving stolen property; court documents don't list an attorney. (Photo: WPXI)

Search Begins For 4 Missing At West Virginia Mine
CLEAR CREEK, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia mine rescue team is searching for four people reported missing at an underground coal mine. The state Office of Miner's Health, Safety and Training says in a news release it began assisting the Raleigh County Sheriff's Office on Sunday. The search is at Elk Run Coal Co.'s Rock House Powellton Mine near Clear Creek. The statement says an abandoned ATV the four were believed to be riding was found near the mine entrance. Members of the state mine safety office and mine parent company Alpha Natural Resources entered the mine Sunday afternoon to begin the search. According to the mine safety office, coal has not been mined at the underground location for two years.

Pay For Private University Chiefs Grows
BOSTON (AP) - A new study finds that the presidents of America's private colleges saw their pay increase by nearly 4 percent in 2016. The Chronicle of Higher Education's annual survey of 500 schools found that the average chief made about $560,000, including salary, bonuses and benefits. A total of 61 college presidents made more than $1 million, up from 58 the previous year. Topping the list is former Baylor University President Ken Starr, who left in 2016 amid a scandal over the school's handling of sexual assault accusations against football players. Starr was paid nearly $5 million in 2016, mostly from a severance agreement he negotiated with the school. Behind Starr was Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, who received nearly $4 million, and University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, with $3.2 million.

Trump Searching For Chief Of Staff
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is weighing at least four people to serve as his next chief of staff, after plans for an orderly succession for departing John Kelly fell through.The high-profile hiring search comes at a pivotal time as the president looks to prepare his White House for the twin challenges of securing his re-election and fending off inquiries once Democrats gain control of the House next year. Trump's top pick for the job, Nick Ayers, is out of the running and Trump is now soliciting input on at least four individuals, including Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Ayers is now chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump Blames Cohen For Hush Money 'Liability'
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is defending the hush money payments made by his former lawyer to two women during his 2016 campaign as "a simple private transaction." He tweeted Monday that if there was wrongdoing, it's lawyer Michael Cohen's "liability" and not his. Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Friday that Cohen "acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election" and at the direction of Trump when he brokered deals to stop women from going public about their alleged affairs with Trump. Trump has argued that the payments - which he first denied knowledge of - weren't campaign contributions because his own money and not campaign funds were used for the payments. But federal law requires disclosure of payments made "for the purposes of influencing" an election.

Pressure Mounting On French Leader Over Protests
PARIS (AP) - French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says U.S. President Donald Trump should not comment on France's domestic affairs, notably nationwide protests that began over fuel tax hikes meant to wean the nation off fossil fuels. President Emmanuel Macron withdrew the planned increase last week in a failed bid to appease sometimes violent protesters. Trump has tweeted twice on the issue, saying in one tweet this weekend that "the Paris agreement isn't working out so well for Paris." It was a reference to the 2015 Paris climate accord, which the U.S. is leaving and which Macron has championed worldwide. Le Drian said on LCI TV on Sunday: "We don't take part in American debates. Let us live our own national life." He says Macron has told Trump the same thing.

China Pressures U.S, Canada Ahead Of Huawei Hearing
BEIJING (AP) - China is raising the pressure on the United States and Canada as a bail hearing for a top Chinese technology executive was set to resume in Vancouver.
A Communist Party newspaper called Canada's treatment of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou "inhumane." The Global Times editorial published in Monday's edition followed formal protests by the Chinese government to both Canada and the United States over the weekend. Meng was detained on Dec. 1 while changing planes in Vancouver. The U.S. wants her extradited. It alleges Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran. A Canadian prosecutor asked a court Friday to reject Meng's bail request. The judge said he would think about proposed bail conditions over the weekend.

U.S Job Opening Hit 2nd-Highest On Record
WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of open jobs rose in October to the second-highest on record, evidence that U.S. employers remain determined to hire, despite ongoing trade disputes and rocky financial markets. The Labor Department says the number of job openings increased 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 7.1 million. That is not far from the record of 7.3 million reached in August. The number of people hired also climbed while the ranks of those who quit their jobs fell slightly.
The data underscores that the labor market remains strong and suggests that last Friday's jobs report, which showed a modest drop in the pace of hiring, does not reflect a pessimistic outlook among employers. The economy expanded over the summer and fall at the fastest six-month pace in four years.

Musk Suggests Tesla's New Chair Won't Rein Him In
NEW YORK (AP) - Tesla CEO Elon Musk is dismissing the ability of the company's new board chairwoman to exert control over his behavior. Musk says "it's not realistic" to think that Robyn Denholm will be reining him in because he remains the electric car company's largest shareholder. Musk spoke on CBS' show "60 Minutes," broadcast Sunday evening. Denholm was appointed to the role last month, replacing Musk as part of a securities fraud settlement with U.S. government regulators. She is chief financial officer and strategy head at Telstra Corp. Ltd., Australia's largest telecommunications company. Musk owns about 20 percent of Tesla. He pushed back when interviewer Lesley Stahl suggested Denholm was appointed to watch over him, saying he "can just call for a shareholder vote and get anything done that I want."

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