NEWS OF THE DAY
From Across the Nation
_1 School shooting: Authorities in Washington state are searching for a thief who made off with the purse of a parent who rushed to check on her child after a school shooting last week. The Spokane County Sheriff ’s Office said the thief has racked up more than $36,000 in fraudulent charges. “The fact these criminals took advantage of such a tragic situation is particularly heinous.” said Deputy Mark Gregory. Authorities say the purse was stolen Wednesday as parents converged on Freeman High School in Rockford, where a gunman had opened fire, killing one student and injuring three others. A 15-year-old has been arrested. A two-lane road into the small town was clogged as worried parents sped to the school. Some people abandoned their cars, and Gregory said someone “stole a purse hastily left behind by a worried parent.”
_2 ‘El Chapo’ case: A drug trafficking case against Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman won’t be dismissed even though his lawyers argued the U.S. government violated international law by charging him with different crimes after he was extradited, a federal judge has ruled. Guzman was transported from Mexico to New York City in January to face charges that he oversaw a multibillion-dollar international drug trafficking operation that laundered money and oversaw a ruthless campaign of killings and kidnappings. His lawyers argued in court papers that the government charged him with different crimes after he was en route to the U.S. Judge Brian Cogan ruled Friday that Guzman can’t raise the issue without protest or objection from Mexico. Guzman’s case is set for trial in April.
_3 Veterans’ suicides: Suicide among military veterans is especially high in the western U.S. and rural areas, according to new government data that show wide state-by-state disparities and suggest social isolation, gun ownership and access to health care may be factors. The figures are the first Department of Veterans Affairs data on suicide by state. It shows Montana, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico had the highest rates of veteran suicide as of 2014, the most current VA data available. Veterans in big chunks of those states must drive 70 miles or more to reach the nearest VA medical center. The suicide rates in those four states stood at 60 per 100,000 individuals or higher, far above the national veteran suicide rate of 38.4.
_4 Transgender ban: The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee has joined an effort to challenge President Trump’s announced ban on transgender troops, a sign that open resistance to the order is growing. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a military hawk and one of the GOP’s most outspoken critics of Trump, said in a statement that he is backing the measure because “we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country.” The announcement from McCain came as he joined Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Susan Collins, RMaine, in introducing a bill to thwart the president’s plan.