AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Clear
6.0°C

AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

October 02, 2017 - 8:05 PM

'I'm going to die': fear grips Vegas strip; gunman kills 59

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The rapid-fire popping sounded like firecrackers at first, and many in the crowd of 22,000 country music fans didn't understand what was happening when the band stopped playing and singer Jason Aldean hustled off stage.

"That's gunshots," a man could be heard saying emphatically on a cellphone video in the nearly half-minute of silence and confusion that followed. A woman pleaded with others: "Get down! Get down! Stay down!"

Then the pop-pop-pop noise resumed. And pure terror set in.

"People start screaming and yelling and we start running," said Andrew Akiyoshi, who provided the cellphone video to The Associated Press. "You could feel the panic. You could feel like the bullets were flying above us. Everybody's ducking down, running low to the ground."

While some concertgoers hit the ground Sunday night, others pushed for the crowded exits, shoving through narrow gates and climbing over fences as 40- to 50-round bursts of automatic weapons fire rained down on them from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel.

___

In face of Las Vegas shooting, congressional inaction

WASHINGTON (AP) — The deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas renewed Democrats' calls Monday for gun safety legislation, but their pleas fell on deaf ears in the Republican-controlled Congress. At the same time GOP legislation aimed at loosening gun rules stood in limbo, facing an uncertain future.

Before the shooting that killed at least 59 people — the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history — House GOP leaders had been moving forward with bills to ease regulations on gun silencers and allow people with concealed-carry permits to take their weapons to other states.

Republicans have been upbeat about prospects for legislation as they control both the House and Senate and have an ally in the White House in President Donald Trump. But no votes on either bill were scheduled as of Monday.

Democrats seized on the violence in Nevada to demand tougher gun restrictions.

"What Congress can do — what Congress must do — is pass laws that keep our citizens safe," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said on the Senate floor. "And that starts with laws that help prevent guns, especially the most dangerous guns, from falling into the wrong hands."

___

Witness and survivor accounts from the Las Vegas shooting

LAS VEGAS (AP) — It was a night of music that turned to chaos and horror. There were 22,000 country music fans at the outdoor Las Vegas concert when the shooting started. Police said 59 people died and 527 were injured when a shooter rained gunfire down on them from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel. Here are the accounts of survivors and their loved ones, interviewed by The Associated Press.

'THEY'RE SHOOTING AT US'

James Cabrera, said he and his wife, Sonia Pena, were at home in La Habra, California, when their 21-year-old daughter Jessica called them from the musical festival shortly after 10 p.m. desperately recounting her horror as gunfire rang out in the background.

"We could hear everything that was going on there, the gunfire, the people yelling," Cabrera said Monday morning as he sat at a slot machine in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. "We knew we had to get there right away."

"She was screaming into the phone," said Cabrera of his daughter. She yelled, 'They're shooting at us, people are falling, I love you!'"

___

Officials: US to ask Cuba to cut embassy staff by 60 per cent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is preparing to ask Cuba to withdraw 60 per cent of its diplomats from Washington, U.S. officials said Monday, in response to last week's U.S. move to cut its own embassy staff in Havana by a similar amount.

The U.S. request marks yet another major setback for relations between the United States and Cuba, two countries that only recently renewed diplomatic relations after a half-century of hostility. It comes as the U.S. seeks to protect its own diplomats from unexplained attacks that have harmed at least 21 Americans in Havana with ailments that affected their hearing, cognition, balance and vision.

The State Department is expected to announce the decision Tuesday, officials said, though they cautioned no decision was formalized until publicly announced. The officials weren't authorized to discuss the plan publicly and requested anonymity.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the plan Monday with President Donald Trump, one of the officials said.

Cuba has denied involvement in the attacks. Though Havana is likely to view the move as unwarranted retaliation, U.S. officials said the goal wasn't to punish the communist-run island, but to ensure both countries have a similar number of diplomats in each other's capitals. The United States will formally ask Cuba to pull the diplomats, but won't expel them forcefully unless Havana refuses, the officials said.

___

Many Puerto Ricans angry over Trump's comments on island

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Outside of official events, many Puerto Ricans say they won't be welcoming President Donald Trump with open arms during his visit to the storm-wracked island on Tuesday.

People in the U.S. territory were angry or dismissive Monday when asked about Trump's description of some Puerto Ricans who have criticized the U.S. government's aid after Hurricane Maria as "ingrates" and about his assurances that the relief effort is going well.

"He's a piece of trash," Rachel Cruz, a linguist, said as she head home after buying groceries in the capital, San Juan. "He makes a fool out of himself and a fool out of his country."

Cruz said Puerto Ricans are furious with power still cut off on most of the island, schools and many businesses closed, and much of the countryside struggling to find fresh water and food, but she said even the angriest were unlikely to openly insult the man ultimately responsible for helping them.

"The majority of people here feel that way, but we have to be more balanced because we need help," she said.

___

Erroneous reports about Tom Petty's death cause confusion

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For several hours Monday, music lovers believed Tom Petty was dead.

Courtney Love, Talib Kweli, Kid Rock, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Stanley and Lin-Manuel Miranda were among scores of fans posting remembrances on Twitter, where Petty was the top worldwide trending topic Monday afternoon. A memorial was scheduled for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But the 66-year-old entertainer is still alive, and news outlets that announced his death Monday retracted their stories later Monday. The Walk of Fame tribute was cancelled.

The confusion started with CBS News and the Los Angeles Police Department. CBS published Petty's obituary after tweeting that the LAPD had confirmed his death. The trade paper Variety followed, citing an unnamed source confirming the rocker's death.

Then the LAPD issued a statement saying it has no information on Petty's condition and that "initial information was inadvertently provided to some media sources."

___

Bodyguard gives harrowing account of Benghazi attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — A diplomatic security agent testified Monday that after militants stormed the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, he turned to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was hiding in a safe room, and said, "When I die, you need to pick up my gun and keep fighting."

Agent Scott Wickland was the government's first witness in a trial of Ahmed Abu Khattala, a Libyan suspected of orchestrating the attack that killed the ambassador and three other Americans. Wickland took the stand and gave a harrowing account of how he tried without success to save the ambassador and Sean Patrick Smith, a State Department information management officer.

The smoke from weapons' fire and explosions was so thick and black that it blinded the three. They dropped to the floor and crawled on their bellies, gasping for air. Wickland said he was trying to lead them to a bathroom where he could close the door and open a window.

"I was breathing through the last centimetre of air on the ground," Wickland said. "I'm yelling, 'Come on. We can make it. We're going to the bathroom.' Within 8 metres, they disappeared."

Wickland kept yelling for them. He was feeling around on the floor through the toxic smoke, which made the lighted room darker than night.

___

Family, friends mourn, honour loved ones who were killed

They were school teachers and youth football coaches, real estate agents and local business owners.

They were parents, siblings, husbands, wives, neighbours and friends.

They travelled to Las Vegas to see their favourite stars, posting videos and photos to social media.

At least 59 of them never made it home after a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel onto a crowd of more than 22,000 below at a country music festival.

Details emerged Monday about the lives of those who died, as well as countless more who were injured. Friends waited for text messages that never came, families learned the worst from hospitals and local authorities. In a few cases, families still frantically searched Monday night for news. Many have launched fundraising campaigns for the children and families left behind, while others have vowed to start scholarship funds in their loved ones' names.

___

Brother: Las Vegas gunman was wealthy real-estate investor

MESQUITE, Nev. (AP) — Stephen Paddock lived in a tidy Nevada retirement community where the amenities include golf, tennis and bocce. He was a wealthy real-estate investor, recently shipped his 90-year-old mother a walker and liked to play high-stakes video poker in Las Vegas.

Nothing in his background suggests why he would have been on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino with at least 17 guns on Sunday night, raining an unparalleled slaughter upon an outdoor country music festival below.

Law enforcement and family members could not explain what would motivate a one-time accountant with no known criminal record to inflict so much carnage. Paddock had apparently planned the attack in great detail, including showing up at the hotel with at least 10 suitcases.

"I can't even make something up," his bewildered brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters Monday. "There's just nothing."

At least 59 people were killed and nearly 530 injured in Paddock's attack on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, where country music star Jason Aldean was performing for more than 22,000 fans. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The 64-year-old gunman killed himself in the hotel room before authorities arrived.

___

Facebook says estimated 10 million saw Russia-linked ads

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook says ads that ran on the company's social media platform and have been linked to a Russian internet agency were seen by an estimated 10 million people before and after the 2016 election.

The company turned 3,000 ads over to three congressional committees Monday as part of their investigations into Russian influence in the 2016 election. In a new company blog post, Facebook's Elliot Schrage said the ads appeared to focus on divisive social and political messages, including LGBT issues, immigration and gun rights. In many cases, the ads encouraged people to follow pages on those issues.

Fewer than half of the ads — which ran between 2015 and 2017 — were seen before the election, with 56 per cent of them seen after the election. Some of the ads were paid for in Russian currency.

Congressional investigators have recently focused on the spread of false news stories and propaganda on social media and have pressured Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, to release any Russia-linked ads. Facebook's ads were turned over to the House and Senate intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The company already has given similar material to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian meddling.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

  • Popular kelowna News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile