Bus driver to be arraigned in crash that killed 6 children

A Tennessee school bus driver involved in a bus crash that killed six children last year will be arraigned Friday.

Six children between ages 6 to 10 died while more than a dozen others were injured in the crash in Chattanooga in November.

Driver Johnthony Walker faces various charges, including six counts of vehicular homicide. He also faces four counts of reckless aggravated assault, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of reckless driving and one count of use of a portable device by a bus driver.

Police have said Walker was driving well over the 30 mph speed limit when the school bus swerved off a street, toppled on its side and slammed into a tree on November 21.

The bus was carrying 37 students from Woodmore Elementary School in Chattanooga.

Walker’s mother, Gwenevere Cook, said her son was a respected man and the father of a 3-year-old boy.

“He is a marvelous son. For two years he worked two jobs. He’s never been in trouble before,” Cook said.

He will be arraigned at the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office.

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Judge who blocked Trump’s travel ban gets threats

A Hawaii federal judge who ruled against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban has been the target of threatening messages, the FBI says.

US District Judge Derrick Watson’s ruling last week resulted in a temporary restraining order nationwide — hours before the revised travel ban was set to go into effect.

In the 43-page ruling, Watson concluded that the new executive order failed to pass legal muster, and the state had established “a strong likelihood of success” on their claims of religious discrimination.

Watson, who presides in Honolulu, has received threatening messages since the ruling. FBI spokeswoman Michele Ernst said the agency is aware of the situation and prepared to assist.

The FBI declined to provide additional details on the investigation. The US Marshals Service, which is spearheading the investigation, said it does not discuss specific security measures.

“The US Marshals Service is responsible for the protection of federal judicial officials, including judges and prosecutors, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” it said in a statement.

“While we do not discuss our specific security measures, we continuously review the security measures in place for all federal judges and take appropriate steps to provide additional protection when it is warranted.”

Trump decried Watson’s ruling during a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, last week.

“This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach,” Trump said before pledging to take the issue to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Watson’s ruling, which applies nationwide, means people from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees will be able to travel to the US.

Unlike the previous executive order, the revised one removed Iraq from the list of banned countries, exempted those with green cards and visas, and removed a provision that arguably prioritizes certain religious minorities.

The new ban was announced this month. It would have banned people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

“The illogic of the government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed,” Watson wrote.

After Trump initially blasted a federal judge in Seattle on Twitter for blocking the original travel ban, and several other federal courts halted its implementation last month, the White House went back to the drawing board for over a month and rewrote the ban — hoping this one would survive legal scrutiny. It did not survive Watson’s.

Watson is not the only judge who blocked the ban. Federal Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland specifically blocked the 90-day ban on immigration for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.

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Khalid Masood: What we know about the London attacker

In an attack in London on Wednesday, a lone assailant plowed a car into crowds of people gathered on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer dead outside UK Parliament. The assault on the heart of Britain’s capital left four people dead.

On Thursday, police announced the fourth fatality and named the attacker as 52-year-old Khalid Massod. But there is still much we don’t know about the man who carried out the deadliest terror attack the UK has seen for more than a decade.

What we know

• Police named the attacker as 52-year-old Khalid Masood — known by a number of aliases.

• Masood, who was born in Kent, was most recently living in the West Midlands, according to police.

• He has never been convicted for any terrorism offenses, according to police.

• Known to police, Masood had a range of previous convictions for assaults, including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offenses.

• His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage; his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.

• Speaking before Masood was named, Prime Minister Theresa May said the attacker was known to authorities for links to “violent extremism.”

• He was investigated “some years ago” by security services, but was regarded as a “peripheral figure,” May said in the House of Commons.

• He was not part of the “current intelligence picture,” and authorities did not know he was about to mount an assault.

• The vehicle used in the terror attack was traced to a Birmingham car company.

• Britain’s most senior counter-terror police officer said investigations were ongoing in London, Birmingham and elsewhere on Thursday.

• The attacker is believed to have acted alone, according to Mark Rowley, the lead officer in the UK for counter-terrorism policing.

• The working theory is that the attack was ISIS “inspired or copycat,” a UK official told CNN.

• ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling the attacker a ”soldier of Islamic State.”

What we don’t know

• Masood’s movements before the attack. Authorities have searched addresses in Birmingham and elsewhere, but the attacker’s whereabouts before Wednesday have not yet been confirmed.

• His motive. A UK official told CNN: “52 is interesting. Not the usual young pup profile” for an ideologically-driven attacker.

• Whether he acted alone. A number of arrests have been made in Birmingham connected with the attack, but it is not clear how those detained were associated with the attacker.

• The veracity of Amaq’s claim. Just because the ISIS-linked news agency asserted the attack was carried out by one of its “soldiers” does not necessarily mean the group had any direct connections to the attacker.

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Rick Perry: Texas A&M election ‘stolen’

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry weighed in on the student body election of his alma mater Wednesday, questioning whether Texas A&M’s first openly gay student body president legitimately earned the title.

In an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle, the former Texas governor said he was “deeply concerned” by the school’s decision to disqualify the winner of the popular vote and declare junior Bobby Brooks president.

At best, the school “made a mockery of due process” in the name of diversity, he said. At worse, the election was “stolen.”

“It is difficult to escape the perception that this quest for ‘diversity’ is the real reason the election outcome was overturned,” Perry wrote. “Does the principle of ‘diversity’ override and supersede all other values of our Aggie Honor Code?”

The allegations prompted a swift repudiation from the school. Meanwhile, critics wondered if Perry didn’t have better things to do with his time as energy secretary than pen an 851-word op-ed on college politics.

Robert McIntosh, the son of a prominent Republican fundraiser, earned 750 more votes than Brooks, an openly gay student.

McIntosh was disqualified for failing to disclose campaign expenses — specifically, a receipt for glow sticks used in a campaign video, according to school judicial court records.

Another charge of voter intimidation was dismissed based on lack of evidence. But the school court upheld the disqualification “with no consideration given to whether the punishment fit the crime,” Perry wrote.

“The desire of the electorate is overturned, and thousands of student votes are disqualified because of free glow sticks that appeared for 11 seconds of a months-long campaign. Apparently, glow sticks merit the same punishment as voter intimidation.”

Perry goes on to say that every Aggie should ask themselves if the outcome would have been the same if McIntosh had been a “minority student” instead of a white male, or if Brooks had been disqualified.

“Would the administration and the student body have allowed the first gay student body president to be voided for using charity glow sticks? Would the student body have allowed a black student body president to be disqualified on anonymous charges of voter intimidation?” he asks.

“We all know that the administration, the SGA and student body would not have permitted such a thing to happen. The outcome would have been different if the victim was different.”

Perry’s detractors noted that McIntosh is the son of Dallas-based Republican fundraiser Alison McIntosh, who campaigned for President Donald Trump.

The school said it was “surprised” that Perry had chosen to weigh in. It “respectfully” disagreed with his assessment and defended the integrity of the election.

“The disqualification of the leading vote-getter resulted in the certification of Bobby Brooks as the next Student Body President effective April 21, 2017. To suggest that the same decision of disqualification would not have been made if the roles were reversed is to deny the Texas A&M of today where accountability applies to all,” university spokeswoman Amy Smith said in a statement.

“Bobby Brooks, in this role, represents all students of all backgrounds. I know that he takes this responsibility seriously and we look forward to working with him. We are also grateful to the other students who ran for the office and who will undoubtedly continue to be leaders on the campus.”

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