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The Latest Headlines From Around the World

    A volcano erupted Monday on a small New Zealand island frequented by tourists, and a number of people were missing and injured after the eruption. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said about 100 tourists were on or near White Island when it erupted in the afternoon. “Some of those, at this stage, are unaccounted for,” she said. ''A number of people are reportedly injured and are being transported to shore.' She said the incident appeared to be “very significant.” “All our thoughts are with those affected,” she said. Ardern said there were no confirmed fatalities. St John medical responders said in a statement they believed there were 20 people on the island who were injured and in need of medical treatment. It said it had dispatched seven helicopters to the island with paramedics aboard. The GeoNet agency said a moderate volcanic eruption had occurred and raised its alert level to four, on a scale where five represents a major eruption. White Island sits about 50 kilometers (30 miles) offshore from mainland New Zealand. There will be questions asked as to why tourists were still able to visit the island after scientists recently noted an uptick in volcanic activity. White Island is northeast of the town of Tauranga on North Island, one of New Zealand's two main islands. Police were asking people to avoid areas on the North Island that were close to the eruption, including the Whakatane Heads and Muriwai Drive areas. GeoNet says it is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano and about 70 percent of the volcano is under the sea. Twelve people were killed on the island in 1914 when it was being mined for sulphur. Part of a crater wall collapsed and a landslide destroyed the miners' village and the mine itself. The remains of buildings from another mining enterprise in the 1920s are now a tourist attraction, according to GeoNet. The island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit the volcano every year. The island is also known by the indigenous Maori name Whakaari.
  • Japanese Empress Masako, still recovering from stress-induced mental health issues, said Monday she was happy to have completed her duties as part of Emperor Naruhito's enthronement rituals and pledged to keep up the work and help her husband more for the happiness of the people. In a palace statement marking her 56th birthday, Masako thanked people who have warmly welcomed the couple after Naruhito succeeded to the throne on May 1, following his father's abdication. “Many smiley faces I've seen in many places are precious memories for me and they will be my big moral support as I move forward,' the statement said. A Harvard-educated former diplomat, Masako had been largely absent from public appearances for years. She developed adjustment disorder, a condition marked by depression and other stress-induced symptoms, after giving birth to the couple's only child, Princess Aiko, and facing pressure to have a son to continue Japan's male-only imperial succession. Naruhito’s succession rituals spanned from late April to early December, and Masako was seen smiling and seemed healthy at her public appearances. Her her doctors welcomed her accomplishment as a positive sign, but cautioned the people against raising their expectations too high, saying that could interfere with her recovery. Masako's long absence from imperial events and trips had raised concern that she could do even part of the work done by hugely popular former Empress Michiko. But she accompanied Naruhito at all events, including his first public greeting as emperor when some 140,000 people gathered. She sat next to Naruhito in an open car during a royal parade in November, enthusiastically waving to 119,000 well-wishers on the roadside, and she was seen overwhelmed with emotion and wiping tears with a handkerchief. Masako thanked Naruhito for his consideration and support for her and said that she hoped to further improve her health so she can give him more support. “I hope to fulfill my duty as Empress, while trying to further improve my health so that I can help His Majesty and work for the people’s happiness, together with him,” the statement released by the Imperial Household Agency said. Her doctors said Masako has been able to expand her activities and regained confidence little by little as she constantly sought ways to maintain her health while taking care of her daughter, Princess Aiko. Warm welcome from the people also gave her encouragement. But the doctors say she managed to complete her duties related to the enthronement ceremonies because of her strong sense of responsibility, not because she had fully recovered. “We believe it’s desirable” that she was able to expand her activity, the doctors said in a statement that was also released by the palace. “But she has not fully recovered and her conditions have ups and downs. She gets tired after a major event or after a series of events,” the doctors said. “Having over-expectations could go counter to her recovery.” The doctors said it is important for Masako to continue her treatment while obtaining understanding and support from around her. “We hope you will continue to warmly watch over her recovery,' they said. There are expectations that Naruhito — who is Japan's first emperor with a college degree and who studied at Oxford — and Masako will internationalize the imperial household. Many Japanese were particularly impressed when she and Naruhito casually chatted with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania without interpreters during their visit in late May as first state guests of the new emperor. The royal couple also freely conversed many foreign dignitaries who attended state banquets and tea parties to celebrate Naruhito’s enthronement in October. As a former diplomat, Masako expressed concerns about global issues, including marine plastic pollution, poverty, child abuse and people in the conflicts-torn areas. She mourned for the death of Tetsu Nakamura, a Japanese doctor and aid worker who was gunned down in Afghanistan last week.
  • Pope Francis says small gestures can improve a city's life, as he spoke at a religious ceremony to mark the official start of Rome's Christmas season. Francis prayed Sunday at the foot of a towering column topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary. Italians consider Dec. 8 — a national holiday and a religious feast day honoring Mary for the Catholic church — the start of the holiday season. Francis says it's in the ‘’little gestures and the big choices' that the quality of life can improve and the social climate can become ‘’more breathable.' The annual ceremony takes place near Rome's Spanish Steps and near its upscale shopping district and tourists and Romans flocked to see the pontiff, including the city's mayor. Rome's frequent garbage pileups on the streets and its polluted air have plagued city residents, making quality-of-life discussions a key topic.
  • A 34-year-old transport minister and lawmaker has been tapped to become Finland's youngest prime minister ever and its third female government leader. Finland's ruling Social Democratic Party council voted 32-29 late Sunday to name Sanna Marin over rival Antti Lindtman to take over the government's top post from incumbent Antti Rinne. Having emerged as Finland's largest party in the April election, the Social Democrats can appoint one of their own to the post of prime minister in the Nordic nation of 5.5 million. Marin has been the party's vice chairwoman, a lawmaker since 2015 and served as until this week as the minster for transport and communications. According to Finland's biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and the Ilta-Sanomat tabloid, Marin will become the world's youngest sitting prime minister. Finland currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency until the end of the year. Lawmakers are likely to approve the appointment of Marin and her new government quickly so she can represent Finland at the Dec. 12-13 EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. Rinne stepped down Tuesday after a key coalition partner, the Center Party, withdrew its support, citing lack of trust. The Center Party also criticized Rinne's leadership skills prior to a two-week strike by the country’s state-owned postal service Posti in November that spread to other industries, including the national flag carrier Finnair. Rinne's resignation prompted the formal resignation of a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Center Party and three junior partners: the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People's Party of Finland. On Sunday, Social Democrats and the four other coalition parties said they are committed to the government program agreed upon after the April election and will continue in Marin's new government. The new government will still have a comfortable majority of 117 seats at the 200-seat Eduskunta, or Parliament. Social Democrats said Sunday they're seeking to have Rinne, a former trade union leader, become the parliament's vice speaker. He also plans to stay on as the Social Democrats' chairman until a party congress next summer.
  • Pope Francis has named Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to a major Vatican post, in a move that could boost the Asian prelate's chances of perhaps someday becoming pontiff himself. The Vatican announced Sunday that Tagle, 62, will head the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples. The appointment of Tagle as prefect of that office highlights the attention that Francis is giving to the church in the developing world. Vatican observers have long tabbed Tagle as having the qualifications of a “papabile,'” churchmen widely considered to have the makings to potentially be elected pope someday by their fellow cardinals. Tagle was raised to cardinal's rank in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. The Philippines is the country with the most Catholics in Asia. Transferring Tagle to the Vatican will give the prelate experience in the Holy See's operations.
  • The Saudi gunman who killed three people at the Pensacola naval base had apparently gone on Twitter shortly before the shooting to blast U.S. support of Israel and accuse America of being anti-Muslim, a U.S. official said Sunday as the FBI confirmed it is operating on the assumption the attack was an act of terrorism. Investigators are also trying to establish whether the killer, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, of the Royal Saudi Air Force, acted alone or was part of a larger plot. Alshamrani, who was killed by a sheriff's deputy during the rampage at a classroom building Friday, was undergoing flight training at Pensacola, where members of foreign militaries routinely receive instruction. “We are, as we do in most active-shooter investigations, work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism,” said Rachel J. Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Jacksonville. Authorities believe the gunman made social media posts criticizing the U.S. under a user handle similar to his name, but federal law enforcement officials are investigating whether he authored the words or just posted them, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Also, investigators believe the gunman visited New York City, including Rockefeller Center, days before the shooting and are working to determine the purpose of the trip, the official said. All foreign students at the Pensacola base have been accounted for, no arrests have been made, and the community is under no immediate threat, Rojas said at a news conference. A Saudi commanding officer has ordered all students from the country to remain at one location at the base, authorities said. “There are a number of Saudi students who are close to the shooter and continue to cooperate in this investigation,' Rojas said. “The Saudi government has pledged to fully cooperate with our investigation.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the investigation was proceeding under “the presumption that this was an act of terrorism'and he called for better vetting of foreigners allowed into the U.S. for training on American bases. Speaking at a news conference Sunday afternoon, DeSantis also said the gunman had a social media trail and a “deep-seated hatred of the United States.” He said he thought such an attack could have been prevented with better vetting. “You have to take precautions' to protect the nation, DeSantis said. “To have this individual be able to take out three of our sailors, to me that’s unacceptable,' the governor added. Earlier in the week of the shooting, Alshamrani hosted a dinner party where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings, another U.S. official told the AP on Saturday. Alshamrani used a Glock 9 mm weapon that had been purchased legally in Florida, Rojas said. DeSantis questioned whether foreigners should continue to be allowed under federal law to buy guns in the U.S. and called it a “federal loophole.” Republican DeSantis said he supports that the Second Amendment but that it 'does not apply to Saudi Arabians.” Family members and others identified the three dead as Joshua Kaleb Watson, a 23-year-old graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Florida, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year; and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill, Georgia. The official who spoke Saturday said one of the three students who attended the dinner party hosted by the attacker recorded video outside the classroom building while the shooting was taking place. Two other Saudi students watched from a car, the official said. In a statement, the FBI confirmed Sunday that it had obtained base surveillance videos as well as cellphone footage taken by a bystander outside the building, and had also interviewed that person. Rojas would not directly answer when asked whether other students knew about the attack beforehand or whether there was anything 'nefarious' about the making of the video. She said that a lot of information needs to be confirmed by investigators and that she did not want to contribute to “misinformation” circulating about the case. Rojas said federal authorities are focused on questioning the gunman's friends, classmates and other associates. 'Our main goal is to confirm if he acted alone or was he part of a larger network,' she said. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, said on CBS' “”Face the Nation' that the shooting looked like “terrorism or akin to terrorism.' But he cautioned that the FBI was still investigating. “Look, to me it appears to be a terrorist attack,' he said. “I don't want prejudge the investigation, but it appears that this may be someone that was radicalized.' O'Brien said he did not see evidence so far of a “broader plot.” The U.S. has long had a robust training program for Saudis, providing assistance in the U.S. and in the kingdom. More than 850 Saudis are in the United States for various training activities. They are among more than 5,000 foreign students from 153 countries in the U.S. going through military training. Foreigners allowed into the U.S. for military training are subject to background checks to weed out security risks. “This has been done for many decades,” Trump said on Saturday. “I guess we're going to have to look into the whole procedure. We'll start that immediately.' Saudi Arabia’s government so far has not commented on a possible motive for the shooting, nor offered any information about the promised investigation. ___ Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press reporters Lolita Baldor, Ben Fox, and Robert Burns in Washington; Jon Gambrell in Dubai; Bobby Caina Calvan in Tallahassee, Florida; and Tamara Lush in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report. ___ This story has been corrected to restore dropped words in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' quote.
  • The Danish Atlantic Council says it has canceled a U.S. government-sponsored seminar on NATO and transatlantic relations after the U.S. Embassy in Denmark allegedly banned an American academic known for being critical of President Donald Trump from speaking there. The Danish organisation said Sunday in a statement that 'regrettably' the U.S. ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, 'did not want Mr. (Stanley) Sloan's participation' in the event that the U.S. government was co-organizing and sponsoring. Sloan, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council in the U.S., was among several invited speakers for the 'Celebrating NATO's 70th Anniversary' conference scheduled in Copenhagen's Frederiksberg Palace on Tuesday. Lars Bangert Struwe, the head of the Danish Atlantic Council, said 'we have all the time known that Mr. Sloan has a critical approach towards President Donald Trump. It is no secret — especially when following his Twitter and Facebook profile.' He added, however, that the organisation never doubted that Sloan would deliver “unpolitical and objective lecture.” The U.S. Embassy said on its Twitter account that the 'proposed last-minute inclusion' of Sloan into the conference did not comply with the “agreement that we followed when recruiting all other speakers.” In his Twitter reply, Sloan said he was sorry that the U.S. Embassy objected to his inclusion, since he was 'an experienced public diplomacy lecturer who always represents his country well.” The State Department did not immediately comment on the situation.
  • Authorities say air pollution in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo has reached dangerous levels in recent days, prompting officials to ban freight vehicles from the roads, cancel all outdoor public events and warn citizens to remain indoors. Officials have also reduced coal-fueled central heating temperatures for buildings and banned dust-producing construction. The measures were imposed this week by the Sarajevo regional government. It says Sunday that for most of the past three days, the values for PM10 particulate matter in the air have been at least twice — and sometimes five times — the European Union limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter. Situated in a deep valley and surrounded by high mountains, Sarajevo has historically suffered from high concentrations of fog, smog and dust. However, the situation further deteriorated in the past decade due to the proliferation of tall buildings that block airflow, the use of old and highly polluting vehicles and the increased use of coal for heating in the city. According to a recent report by the U.N. Environment Program, Sarajevo residents are exposed to some of the highest concentrations of air pollution in Europe. The U.N. says that has reduced life expectancy in the country up to 1.3 years.
  • Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to use separate entrances from men or sit behind partitions at restaurants in the latest measure announced by the government that upends a major hallmark of conservative restrictions that had been in place for decades. The decision, which essentially ends gender segregation rules in public, was quietly announced Sunday in a lengthy and technically worded statement by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry. While some restaurants and cafes in the coastal city of Jiddah and Riyadh's upscale hotels had already been allowing unrelated men and women to sit freely, the move codifies what has been a sensitive issue in the past among traditional Saudis who view gender segregation as a religious requirement. Despite that, neighboring Muslim countries do not have similar rules. Across Saudi Arabia, the norm has been that unrelated men and women are not permitted to mix in public. Government-run schools and most public universities remain segregated, as are most Saudi weddings. Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, are currently segregated by 'family' sections allocated for women who are out on their own or who are accompanied by male relatives, and “singles” sections for just men. Many also have separate entrances for women and partitions or rooms for families where women are not visible to single men. In smaller restaurants or cafes with no space for segregation, women are not allowed in. In recent years, however, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for sweeping social reforms, with women and men now able to attend concerts and movie theaters that were once banned. He also curtailed the powers of the country's religious police, who had been enforcers of conservative social norms, like gender segregation in public. Two years ago, women for the first time were allowed to attend sports events in stadiums in the so-called “family” sections. Young girls in recent years have also been allowed access to physical education and sports in school, a right that only boys had been afforded. In August, the kingdom lifted a controversial ban on travel by allowing all citizens — women and men alike — to apply for a passport and travel freely, ending a long-standing guardianship policy that had controlled women’s freedom of movement. Reflecting the sensitive nature of this most recent move, the decision to end enforcement of segregation in restaurants was announced in a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The statement listed a number of newly approved technical requirements for buildings, schools, stores and sports centers. The statement noted that the long list of published decisions was aimed at attracting investments and creating greater business opportunities. Among the regulations announced was “removing a requirement by restaurants to have an entrance for single men and (another) for families.” Couched between a new regulation about the length of a building's facade and allowing kitchens on upper floors to operate was another critical announcement stating that restaurants no longer need to “specify private spaces”— or in other words, partitions would no longer be required. The new rules remove restrictions that had been in place, but do not state that restaurants or cafes have to end segregated entrances or seated areas. Many families in conservative swaths of the country, where women cover their hair and face in public, may prefer eating only at restaurants with segregated spaces. ___ Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Britain's political parties embarked Sunday on a final hunt for votes ahead of this week's general election, making last-ditch appeals to shore up support and persuade their backers to go to the polls. All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs Thursday when voters will pass judgement on a divisive election that will determine Britain's future with European Union. Although opinion polls have placed Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the lead in Thursday's general election, analysts suggest the gap is not wide enough to guarantee a majority in Parliament. Johnson urged supporters at a London rally on Sunday to learn from the 2017 election, which saw former Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May fritter away a decisive lead in the polls and end up with a divided Parliament. “We're now in the final furlong of this race, and that is when of course the horses can still change places,'' Johnson said before urging the group to ”drive for the line.'' 'We're going to get there, but only if we work really hard,' he said. Johnson and members of his Cabinet also hit the phones in a bid to gain support, making calls from the Conservative Party headquarters in central London. In one comical moment, Johnson offered his name to one potential voter, but felt the need to add: “I'm the prime minister.” Johnson's cautious message comes in part because Britain's traditional political alliances don't necessarily apply in this election. British voters' 2016 decision to leave the EU has sparked a major overhaul in British politics, and many voters will make their choice based on a candidate's position on Brexit alone, rather than on past political ties. The Conservatives are also worried that people who voted to leave the EU won't turn out to vote because they are fed up with politicians' failure to carry out the 2016 referendum decision, said Matthew Goodwin, a visiting senior fellow at the Chatham House think tank. “One thing to keep your eyes on, the Conservatives are very aware that a lot of their leave voters have gone missing,'' Goodwin said. “They’ve gone back into apathy. They’re not planning to turn out. One the of the big things they are trying to do with their campaign is find missing leavers'' The main opposition Labour Party has also been moving to shore up votes that it could have counted on in years past. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigned Sunday in Wales — a part of the U.K. that has been a Labour stronghold for decades. He also urged supporters to take nothing for granted in this vote. “When you are working, knocking on doors in the rain ... over the next few days, remember what you're doing it for,'' he said as people cheered. “You're doing it for the next generation. You're doing it to change the course of political history in Britain. Go flat out!'' Johnson pushed to hold the December vote, which is taking place more than two years early, in hopes of winning a majority and breaking Britain's political impasse over Brexit. He has pledged if the Conservatives win a majority, he will get Parliament to ratify his Brexit divorce deal and take the U.K. out of the EU by the current Jan. 31 Brexit deadline. Labour says it will negotiate a new Brexit deal, then give voters a choice between leaving on those terms and remaining in the bloc. Labour's eye-catching domestic agenda has included promises to nationalize key industries and utilities and give free internet access to all. But the Labour campaign has been beset by allegations that Corbyn — a long-time champion of the Palestinians — has failed to stamp out anti-Jewish prejudice in the party. In another blow, the Mail on Sunday quoted Rabbi Marvin Hier, the head of the Nazi-hunting group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, as saying that “no one has done more to mainstream anti-Semitism'' than Corbyn's Labour Party. Labour's John McDonnell acknowledged that the issue could hurt the party in the upcoming vote. 'I apologise to the Jewish community for the suffering we've inflicted on them, I say to them we're doing everything possible,'' he told the BBC. 'We want to learn more lessons and we want to be the shining example of anti-racism that the Labour Party should be.' Labour is also being challenged on how it obtained government documents on exploratory talks on a Brexit trade deal with the United States. The documents had appeared on the social media platform Reddit for weeks before Labour brought the documents into the election debate just days ago. Johnson called for an investigation Saturday 'to get to the bottom'' of the release after Reddit concluded that people from Russia leaked the confidential British government documents. Reddit said in a statement late Friday that it has banned 61 accounts suspected of violating policies against vote manipulation. It said the suspect accounts shared the same pattern of activity as a Russian interference operation dubbed “Secondary Infektion” that was uncovered earlier this year. But Johnson has troubles of his own on the question of whether Russia is meddling in the vote. Critics have been challenging the British government’s failure to release a Parliament intelligence committee report on previous Russian interference in the country’s politics. They say it should have been made public before Thursday’s vote. ___ Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Police in Titusville, Florida, said a man was arrested after a 9-year-old girl was accidentally shot Saturday afternoon. >> Read more trending news  Police said Titusville resident Dustin Adkins, 34, was arrested and is now facing charges including aggravated child neglect with great bodily harm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Adkins is on probation for manslaughter involving the shooting death of a child, police said. The shooting occurred as four young juveniles were with an adult relative target shooting in the woods near State Road 407 and I-95, authorities said. Police said that at some point, the adult left the children unsupervised, and the 9-year-old girl was shot by a sibling accidentally while the sibling was shooting at a target. 'It is outrageous that this adult provided firearms and ammunition to these young children,' said Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson. 'Especially given his past arrest and conviction.' Police said the family transported the child to the hospital. The child was critically injured and is in stable condition, officers said. After a lengthy search, officers found several firearms on a trail hidden under a disposed tire in the wooded area, officials said. No other details were made available.
  • An Arkansas officer was killed in a shooting outside the Fayetteville Police Department on Saturday night, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  Update, 11:22 a.m. EST Dec. 8: Fayetteville police Chief Mike Reynolds identified the officer who was shot and killed outside the Fayetteville Police Department on Saturday night and also identified the shooter, KFSM reported. Reynolds said Officer Stephen Carr was alone in the parking lot waiting for his partner when the suspect, London T. Phillips, 35, approached and fatally shot him, the television station reported. Original story: According to a Fayetteville police news release, the shooting occurred just after 9:40 p.m. in the parking lot behind the police station. Officers in the building heard gunfire and rushed outside to find their colleague down and the suspected shooter fleeing, the release said. Police then chased the suspect, who exchanged fire with officers in a nearby alley, KTHV reported. The suspect was shot, authorities said. The officer and suspect both died from their injuries, according to the news release. Officials have not released the name of the slain officer or suspected shooter. No further information was immediately available. Read more here or here.
  • A suspect died Friday morning after opening fire at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing at least three people and injuring seven others. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said the shooting was reported just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office exchanged gunfire with the suspected shooter, killing him, officials said. Here are the latest updates: Update 3:42 p.m. EST Dec. 8: Officials are still trying to determine whether Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani acted alone or was part of a terrorist group Friday when he opened fire at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, The Washington Post reported. Rachel Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville division, said at a news conference that the agency’s main goal is to determine whether the Saudi air force lieutenant worked as “part of a larger network,” the newspaper reported. Rojas said Shamrani’s weapon, a 9mm Glock, was purchased legally, but she did not describe how Shamrani obtained it and brought it onto the base, according to the Post. Update 10:38 p.m. EST Dec. 7: The third victim of the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting was identified as Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill Georgia. “The Sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil,” Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer at the installation, said in a release. 'When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives. If not for their actions, and the actions of the Naval Security Force that were the first responders on the scene, this incident could have been far worse.” Update 9:58 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Two of the three victims in the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola were identified. Mohammed “Mo” Haitham, of St. Petersburg, Florida, was killed as he tried to stop the shooter, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Haitham, 19, joined the Navy after graduating high school last year. He was assigned to flight crew training and was expected to graduate later this month. “He said he was going to get his flight jacket for Christmas,” his mother, Evelyn Brady, who also served in the Navy, told the Times. Update 3:08 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Authorities said Mohammed Saeed Ashamrani, the Saudi student who fatally shot three people at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola hosted a dinner party earlier in the week, and he and three other people watched videos of mass shootings, The Associated Press reported Saturday. The official was briefed by federal investigators, according to the AP. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, whose district includes the Pensacola area, tweeted he received condolences from Saudi Ambassador Reema Al-Saud, WEAR-TV reported. Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 7: Family members identified one of the victims fatally shot at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, the Pensacola News Journal reported Saturday. Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who reported to Pensacola two weeks ago, was one of the three people killed during Friday’s shooting, the newspaper reported. Watson’s brother, Adam Johnson, confirmed the death in a Facebook post, the News Journal reported “Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own,” Adam Johnson wrote Friday night. ”After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. 'He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled.” Watson’s father, Benjamin Watson, told the News Journal his son was the officer on deck at the time of the shooting. Joshua Watson was shot at least five times, his father told the newspaper. Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 7: Family members identified one of the victims fatally shot at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, the Pensacola News Journal reported Saturday. Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who reported to Pensacola two weeks ago, was one of the three people killed during Friday’s shooting, the newspaper reported. Watson’s brother, Adam Johnson, confirmed the death in a Facebook post, the News Journal reported. Update 9:30 p.m. EST Dec. 6: The shooter has been identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani according to WKRG. He is one of hundreds of international military members who are receiving training there. In a news conference Friday night, the FBI declined to comment on his possible motivations. “There are many reports circulating, but the FBI deals only in facts,” said Rachel L. Rojas, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office. “This is still very much an active and ongoing investigation.” Update 2:25 p.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities declined to confirm the identity of the person who shot several people Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people before being shot and killed by deputies. “I think there’s obviously going to be a lot of questions about this indivdual being a foreign national, being a part of the Saudi Air Force and then to be here training on our soil and to do this,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday morning at a news conference. “The FBI is working with (the Department of Defense), they’re working with (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement), they’re working with Escambia County sheriff’s to answer those questions.” DeSantis said he spoke earlier Friday with President Donald Trump. “One of the things that I talked to the president about is given that this was a foreign national in the employ of a foreign service ... obviously the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for the victims,' DeSantis said. 'I think that they, they are going to owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals.” Authorities confirmed at a news conference that the suspect used a handgun in Friday’s shooting. Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer of NAS Pensacola, said the suspect was at NAS Pensacola for aviation training. Earlier in the day, deputies said the suspect opened fire just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 1:45 p.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities in Pensacola are expected to provide an update Friday afternoon on the investigation into the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left four people dead. Update 1:20 p.m. EST Dec. 6: President Donald Trump said Friday afternoon that he’s spoken to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and received a full briefing on the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time,” Trump said. “We are continuing to monitor the situation as the investigation is ongoing.” Update 12:50 p.m. EST Dec. 6: An official told The Associated Press that the person who opened fire Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people and wounding several others before being shot and killed by authorities, was an aviation student from Saudi Arabia. Authorities are investigating to determine whether the shooting was terrorism-related, according to the AP. Military from around the globe attend the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Authorities are expected to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. local time Friday to update the public on the investigation. Update 11:50 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities expect to hold a news conference at 12 p.m. local time Friday to provide more updates on the shooting that left four people dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities said a total of 11 people were injured or killed in Friday morning’s shooting, including the suspected shooter. The injured included two responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff David Morgan said Friday at a news conference. One deputy was shot in the arm and the other was shot in the knee, Morgan said. They were both expected to survive. Morgan described walking through the scene left by Friday’s attack as being similar to “being in a movie.” “You just don’t expect this to happen here at home,” he said. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 10:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials are holding a news conference to update the public on Friday morning’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Update 10:25 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Vice President Mike Pence said he’s monitoring the situation in Florida after a shooting left two victims and a suspect dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “Praying for the victims & their families,” Pence wrote Friday morning in a Twitter post. “We commend the first responders for their swift action in taking down the shooter & getting those on base to safety.”  Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: White House officials said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the deadly shooting reported Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 10:15 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with Naval Air Station Pensacola said the base will closed for the day Friday after a shooting left three people dead earlier in the day. Authorities said at least three people, including the suspected shooter, were killed in the incident. Reports indicated at least eight other people were wounded in the shooting. The incident happened two days after authorities said a U.S. sailor shot and killed two civilian employees before turning the gun on himself at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. One other person was injured in that shooting. Naval Air Station Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to officials. Update 10:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said his office has been in “close contact with all the relevant officials & closely monitoring events” after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday morning, killing two people. Authorities said the shooter also died. “Please pray for everyone impacted by this horrible situation,” Rubio said in a Twitter post. Update 10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: A spokesman at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital told CNN that hospital officials expected to get three patients who had been injured in Friday morning’s shooting, down from the six expected earlier in the day. Hospital spokesman Mike Burke told the news network most victims were taken to Baptist Hospital because of its proximity to the base. Kathy Bowers, a spokeswoman for Baptist Hospital, earlier told the Pensacola News Journal that the hospital had received five patients wounded in Friday’s shooting. Update 9:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy have confirmed that a second person has died after a shooter opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 9:35 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials told the Pensacola News Journal two people were confirmed dead after Friday morning’s shooting, in addition to the shooter. Naval officials previously said at least one person had been killed. Update 9:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: At least 11 people were hospitalized in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s deadly shooting, according to The Associated Press. Ascension Sacred Heart spokesman Mike Burke told the AP six people were taken to the hospital after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola early Friday. The Pensacola News Journal previously reported five other people were taken to Baptist Hospital with injuries. Naval officials said at least one victim was killed in Friday’s shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 9:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy said at least one person died Friday morning in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. Authorities said the suspected shooter was also dead Friday morning. Update 9 a.m. EST Dec. 6: An official with Baptist Hospital told the Pensacola News Journal five patients were taken to the hospital after Friday morning’s reported shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 8:55 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said a suspected shooter was dead Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Original report: Authorities are responding Friday morning to reports of shots fired at Naval Air Station Pensacola, according to base officials. Authorities at NAS Pensacola said both gates to the base were closed Friday morning as authorities investigated. Officials with the U.S. Navy said the base was on lockdown around 7:45 a.m. local time. A spokeswoman for ECSO told the Pensacola News Journal deputies were working to “take down” what was described as an active shooter around 7:30 a.m. local time. Officials with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office told WEAR-TV injuries were reported. Details on the number of people wounded and the extent of their injuries was not immediately available. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy has now been given the go ahead by a judge with his lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company. According to AV Club, the complaint stems from when his show was produced by Buena Vista Television. The agreement reportedly entitled Nye to 16.5% of the net profits from sales and distribution of the show. Back in April 2008, he received a payment of $585,123, but then it was retracted by Disney three months later, with them claiming it was an accounting error, and they asked for a payment back of $496,111 and that he would not get any more money until he paid that back.  In the complaint, Nye says he hired an auditor to review Buena Vista's records, which he claims Disney dodged until May of 2016, which showed that he was owed more than $9 million in under-reported royalty payments.  After making certain changes to his complaint, the judge ruled that he may proceed with his $28 million lawsuit, which not only covers what he is owed, but also includes legal fees and damages. In a statement from Nye's legal team, they told Fox Business that 'it is our hope that this case, which Disney has fought so hard to stall, will finally shine some light upon the improper accounting practices that Disney utilizes to unjustly deprive profit participants, like our clients, of their fair share of revenues from the programming that they work so hard to create.'  While Disney has sold a select amount of episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy to Netflix( which has since been removed in May of this year), the show cannot be found on Disney+.
  • Despite it being a week since a 73 year old Sanford man has been missing, his family and members of the community are not giving up. Police in Sanford say Robert Ford left his home on November 29th on the 300 block of Fern Drive and has not been back since. They say Ford is a Navy veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and is on medication for depression.  While police continue their search, his daughter has put up flyers around the community and has even set up a Facebook page so that volunteers can help look for him.  Ford is 5 feet, 7 inches weighing 160 pounds and was last seen wearing a dark colored shirt and a jacket. Police say he may act confused and might not know his own name. Anyone who knows where he is is asked to contact the Sanford Police Department at 407-688-5070.

Washington Insider

  • Even as Democrats press ahead with a historic effort to impeach President Donald Trump in the House, lawmakers in both parties are on the cusp of possibly producing series of major, bipartisan legislative deals, covering everything from a crackdown on surprise medical bills to a compromise establishing the President's plan for a 'Space Force' at the Pentagon in exchange for a big benefits change for federal workers. The calendar doesn't offer much time for action in either the House or Senate, as lawmakers hope to leave town by the weekend before Christmas - which would give the House and Senate until around December 20-23. Here are some of the big issues which might get resolved in Congress at the same time as Democrats force a vote on impeachment. 1. Lawmakers cut deal on surprise medical bills. Sunday brought news that a group of key lawmakers - in both parties from the House and Senate - had reached agreement on a plan to rein surprise bills which consumers often face, especially after emergency care. Backers stressed the bipartisan nature of the agreement. 'The legislation includes proposals from 80 Senators, 46 Democrats and 34 Republicans,' said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in a Sunday statement. That does not necessarily mean this deal gets voted on in the next two weeks. 2. New minimum age to buy tobacco products. The deal on the issue of surprise medical bills also has some other items involved in it, including a provision which would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years. The idea of raising the legal age for buying cigarettes and tobacco has been supported in recent months by the Senate's top Republican - Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - but it's not clear if McConnell would rush such a bill to the Senate floor over the next two weeks. 3. 'Space Force' might be ready for launch. Lawmakers in both parties were trying to finalize a major defense policy bill early this week, and the details are expected to finally give President Trump his plan to set up a 'Space Force' inside the Pentagon. The plan - which has been resisted by lawmakers in both parties - would not set up a brand new branch of the military, as sought by President Trump. Instead, the Space Force would operate out of the Air Force, sort of like the Marines are considered part of the Navy. Critics argued a plan to set up a separate new branch of the military would have been too expensive, and would create an unnecessary new bureaucracy. 4. Paid family leave benefit for federal workers? The President won't get his Space Force for nothing in this major defense policy bill, as reportedly the deal with the White House will give around 2.7 million federal workers a new benefit - paid family leave. The plan would reportedly include up to 12 weeks of such leave for federal civilian workers. While no final bill language has been released, a tweet from over the weekend by President Trump's daughter shows this exchange could well be part of the defense bill. Stay tuned. 5. USMCA trade deal still a late year possibility. With a flurry of late negotiations involving U.S., Mexican, and Canadian trade officials, it's still possible that the final touches could be put on a new trade deal among the three nations, and have it voted on by the House and Senate. The White House has been quietly working with Mexico and Canada in recent weeks to work out tweaks to the agreement, mainly dealing with labor and environmental enforcement, trade dispute resolution, and issues dealing with some medical drugs. While the President and his allies keep saying the plan has been sent to Congress already for a vote - that is simply not true. 6. Government funding plan remains in limbo. While there were seemingly agreement on surprise medical billing, the Space Force, and more, lawmakers still have not finalized a giant package of bills to fund the operations of the federal government for 2020. The current temporary funding bill runs out on December 20. While there is obviously the threat of a government shutdown, lawmakers in both parties hope they can either reach a deal now - or extend that temporary spending plan into the New Year. So, this could also be part of a late rush of big legislation.