Explosion-like noises heard at Brussels train station

Belgian media are reporting that explosion-like noises have been heard at a Brussels train station, prompting the evacuation of a main square.

Broadcaster RTL quoted Fires Services spokesman Pierre Meys confirming that some kind of an explosion had happened in the city’s Central station on Tuesday. Meys could not say what had caused the blast.

He could only confirm that firefighters were at the scene.

The Belgian capital’s Grand Place, a major tourist site, was evacuated along with the station about 200 meters (656 feet) away.

Belgium has been on high alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people on the Brussels subway and at an airport on March 22, 2016.

This is a breaking story, stay with Local 10 and Local10.com for the latest information.

 

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US Rep. Steve Scalise shot at baseball practice in Virginia

A top House Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, was shot by a rifle-wielding gunman Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice just outside of Washington. 

Several other people were also believed to have been hit, according to a lawmaker who witnessed the shooting.

Capitol police said officers who were part of Scalise’s security detail returned fire and wounded the shooter, who was taken into custody.

ABC News said the shooter was identified by law enforcement as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois.

Scalise, the House majority whip, was in stable condition at George Washington University Hospital, according to one congressional aide. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

The shooting occurred at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, where lawmakers and others were gathered for a morning practice about 7 a.m. The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity between Democrats and Republicans was scheduled to be played Thursday.

“All of a sudden we heard a very loud shot. The gunman was over by the third base dugout with a clear view of the field,” Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, told CNN.

Once the gunman was down, Flake ran to Scalise and tended to him. He said he grabbed Scalise’s phone to call his wife.

“I just didn’t want her to wake up and learn the news,” Flake said.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, said several other people also were hit, including two law enforcement officers. 

Brooks said that Scalise, 51, was down on the ground with what Brooks described as “a hip wound.”

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Michigan, said Scalise was standing on second base when he was shot.

“I was looking right at him,” Bishop told Detroit radio station WWJ. “He was a sitting duck.”

Brooks said Scalise “crawled into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood.””We started giving him the liquids,” Brooks said. “I put pressure on his wound in his hip.”

Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader. He was first elected to the House in 2008 after serving in the state legislature.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-South Carolina, said in a statement that he was at the practice and “saw the shooter.”

“Please pray for my colleagues,” Duncan said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office said Scalise’s wounds were not believed to be life-threatening and that a member of the security detail was also shot.

Four Florida congressmen — Ron Desantis, Matt Gaetz, Dennis Ross and Tom Rooney — were on the Republican congressional baseball team roster.

DeSantis, who was at the practice, said he had a strange encounter with a man moments before the shooting.

Rep. DeSantis who at baseball practice recalls: “A guy…walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there.” pic.twitter.com/GwozCPRdve

— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 14, 2017

“There was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans and Democrats out there,” DeSantis told Fox News. “And it was just a little odd.”

DeSantis said the man wasn’t carrying anything at the time.

“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol police, first responders and all others affected.”

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Congressman, 2 police shot at baseball event in Virginia

A Louisiana congressman is among the victims of a shooting during a Wednesday morning baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, according to multiple reports.

CNN is reporting that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, and two Capitol police officers were wounded in the shooting.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, who witnessed the shooting, said at least 50 shots were fired.

Brooks said he took off his belt and applied a tourniquet to try to slow down the bleeding.

The extent of victims’ injuries was not immediately known, but a source told ABC News that the Scalise’s injury was not life-threatening.

Alexandria police say the suspect is in custody and not a threat.

Four Florida congressmen — Ron Desantis, Matt Gaetz, Dennis Ross and Tom Rooney — were on the Republican congressional baseball team roster.

“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol police, first responders and all others affected.”

ABC is reporting that the FBI has arrived at the scene.

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WATCH LIVE: Dalia Dippolito’s third murder-for-hire trial

A Boynton Beach woman accused of hiring an undercover police officer to kill her husband was back in a Palm Beach County courtroom Friday for the second day of testimony in her third murder-for-hire trial.

The first witness to testify for the prosecution Friday was Boynton Beach police Detective Alex Moreno.

Dalia Dippolito, 34, is accused of paying an undercover police officer, who was posing as a hit man, to kill her husband in 2009.

Moreno testified that police were first approached about Dippolito’s plot to kill her husband by Mohamed Shihadeh, her former lover. He said police secretly videotaped Dippolito talking to Shihadeh about hiring someone to kill her then-husband.

Assistant state attorney Craig Williams played a portion of the video for the jury.

“I’ll go get my hair done,” Dippolito told Shihadeh of a potential alibi.

The video shows Dippolito handing money and a photograph of her husband to Shihadeh during their conversation.

Williams said during Thursday’s opening statements that the jury would hear Dippolito, in her own words, tell the undercover officer that she was “5,000 percent sure” she wanted her then-husband dead.

Defense attorney Brian Claypool claimed that the Boynton Beach Police Department wanted to gain attention by soliciting the “Cops” television show and set her up with the help of former lover Mohamed Shihadeh, who was tricked into becoming a confidential informant for the police.

The Boynton Beach Police Department staged a crime scene and recorded her reaction on the day her husband was supposed to be killed.

Dippolito was convicted of solicitation to commit first-degree murder in 2011 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the conviction in 2014.

Her second trial last year ended in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked 3-3.

Prosecutors alleged in Dippolito’s previous trials that she offered an undercover officer $7,000 to kill her then-husband.

Her former attorney argued in the 2011 trial that Dippolito thought she was being recorded as part of a hoax to get her husband on a reality TV show. She was found guilty, but the verdict was thrown out because of a mistake during jury selection.

The state called Dippolito’s ex-husband, Mike Dippolito, as its first witness. He testified that he and his new bride met in 2009, while he was still serving probation.

“We got along really well,” he testified. “We had fun together. We did a lot of things. She got me to do things I wouldn’t do.”

Assistant state attorney Laura Laurie asked if Dalia Dippolito’s arrest on a charge of solicitation to commit first-degree murder shock him.

“Yes,” he said.

Mike Dippolito claimed that she stole more than $100,000 in restitution money from him and tried to get him arrested. The felon testified that his former wife convinced him to give her the money so that she could help him get off probation. He said he never saw the money again.

Claypool asked Mike Dippolito during cross-examination if he thought Dalia Dippolito stole the restitution money.

“I know she did,” he answered.

Throughout his testimony, Mike Dippolito avoided making eye contact with his ex-wife, looking her way only once when asked to identify her in the courtroom.

Mike Dippolito testified in the first trial but did not during last year’s trial.

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WATCH LIVE: James Comey testifies before Senate intelligence committee

Fired FBI Chief James Comey seizes center stage in a compelling national political drama Thursday as he delivers congressional testimony that has grave implications for the fate of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Comey will appear before the Senate intelligence committee at 10 a.m. ET in one of the most eagerly awaited hearings in decades, and will publicly contradict aspects of Trump’s accounts of their private conversations.

His testimony represents a pivotal moment in the saga of Russian election hacking and alleged collusion by Trump aides that has cast a dark shadow over the opening months of the new administration.

Comey will face questions about whether Trump abused his power in demanding loyalty from the former FBI chief. He will also be grilled on claims the President obstructed justice by asking him to shut down part of the bureau’s Russia probe.

The hearings will represent a rare moment of common national experience of the kind that has become rare in the fragmented media landscape of the Internet age. National television networks are breaking into regular programing to cover the blockbuster hearing.

The drama seems destined to take its place alongside televised Capitol Hill cliffhangers of the past, including the Anita Hill hearing in 1991, parts of the Watergate hearings in 1973 and the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, which all contributed vignettes that have gone down in political lore.

In essence, this comes down to a showdown between two versions of the same events — one offered by President Donald Trump, the other presented by the respected FBI director whom he fired.

And given Trump’s obsession with news coverage and belief that he has been unfairly maligned in the Russia probe, his reaction to Comey’s testimony — possibly on Twitter — is likely to add to the atmospherics of a seminal political moment.

Comey’s penchant for making a theatrical splash has already turned what was set to be a one-day drama into a two-day feeding frenzy, after he released his prepared opening statement Wednesday afternoon, transfixing Washington.

The former FBI director wrote that the President had demanded his loyalty, pressed him to drop a probe into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and repeatedly pressured him to publicly declare that Trump himself was not under investigation. Comey made clear his discomfort with the President’s actions, saying it seemed as though Trump was trying to create a “patronage relationship” with him. He will also testify Thursday that he felt compelled to immediately write down details of his encounters with Trump for the record. He also said he implored Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shield him from future one-on-one conversations with the President.

Democrats at Thursday’s hearing will highlight one of the most stunning revelations of Comey’s testimony, his statement that Trump asked him to halt the FBI probe into Flynn’s conversations during the transition with Russia’s ambassador to Washington.

He wrote that Trump said during a private meeting in the Oval Office: “‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

“I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.'” Comey wrote, then added: “I did not say I would ‘let this go.'”

Comey’s account of this encounter conflicts with Trump’s own statements. At a news conference May 18, the President was asked whether he had asked the FBI director to pull the plug on the Flynn component of the Russia investigation.

“No. No. Next question,” Trump said.

Democrats believe the exchange between Trump and Comey about Flynn is more evidence that could build a case that the President obstructed justice — which in several times in history has been regarded as an impeachable offense.

“I think it is devastating. … If the President said those words, I believe it is absolutely devastating, completely inappropriate,” said New Mexico Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, on CNN.

While Comey’s prepared testimony electrified Washington, it remains unclear how much further he will go in the hearing. For instance, he’s not expected to make an assessment whether Trump obstructed justice. Given that he is now a witness rather than a prosecutor, the former FBI chief is expected to leave that judgment to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Comey’s early release of his testimony gave Democrats a chance to hone their questions for Thursday, but also flushed out how Republicans will respond.

Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz highlighted Comey’s statements in the testimony that he had told Trump twice and congressional leaders once that the President was not a target of the FBI’s Russia investigation.

“The President is pleased that Mr. Comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe,” said Kasowitz in a statement.

“The President feels completely and totally vindicated. He is eager to continue to move forward with his agenda.”

But Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that selectively reading Comey’s testimony did not exonerate Trump.

“You have got to wait until the end of the investigation before anybody can say they are vindicated,” Whitehouse said.

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