Dallas transgender woman who was attacked in April found dead on street


Police responded to a report of a shooting in the 7200 block of Valley Glen Drive around 6:40 a.m. Saturday, Dallas Police Major Vincent Weddington said.

“Upon arrival, officers found the complainant lying face down in the street — deceased from homicidal violence,” Weddington said during a news conference on Sunday.

The woman was not carrying identification but the medical examiner positively identified her as Muhlaysia Booker on Sunday afternoon, he told reporters.

In a separate incident last month, Booker, 22, was assaulted by several men in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment complex after what police said was a minor traffic accident. Video from the incident showed the suspects repeatedly punching and kicking Booker while she was on the ground.

During the assault, the suspects were reported to have used homophobic slurs, and police trying to determine if it was a hate crime.

“I am extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at the time. “Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community. We will not stand for this kind of behavior.”

One man, Edward Thomas, was arrested and faces charges over the April 12 assault. But, Weddington said, Thomas had not been linked to Booker’s death.

“There is nothing at this time to connect Mr. Edward Thomas and the offense that occurred yesterday,” he said. Police are unaware of Thomas’ current whereabouts.

Police are still trying to identify others who participated in the April attack, Weddington said. Weddington encouraged members of the public with information on either case “to come forward with information to bring closure to both these offenses.”

Booker spoke out in the days after the attack to thank the community for supporting her.

“This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community, and also the city of Dallas. But I want to sincerely thank all you guys for coming out,” she said, according to CNN affiliate KTVT. “I will remain strong with your support.”
Late Sunday, Mayor Rawlings tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” to learn of her death.





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Vigil at start of trial for German man who killed ex-wife


BERLIN (AP) – Women’s rights activists in Germany have staged a vigil for a woman slain by her ex-husband last year amid anger that he isn’t tried for murder.

Members of a Hamburg women’s shelter remembered the 42-year-old victim, a mother of four, outside the city’s regional court where Marc H. went on trial Tuesday.

The defendant, whose surname wasn’t released for privacy reasons, is accused of stabbing his ex-wife 50 times with a knife at her apartment last December.

Prosecutors have charged him with manslaughter. They say that by law, he can’t be charged with murder because the victim was aware of the 50-year-old’s violent record. The man had previously attacked her by strangling and using an electric shock device.

Activists say cases like this show the law needs changing.



Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.





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Antetokounmpo funds basketball court in fire-ravaged Greece


Greek NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo has agreed to fund the construction of an indoor basketball court in a fire-ravaged area outside Athens where at least 100 people were killed last year.

The mayor of the Rafina area where the fire occurred last July said on Monday the local authority received the offer from the Milwaukee Bucks player to build the court at a new recycling park that is being planned in the area. The mayor, Vangelis Bournous, gave no details of the construction cost but said the venue would be ready at the end of this summer.

The blaze gutted the seaside resort of Mati, east of Athens, and other coastal areas, destroying more than a thousand homes.

“Antetokounmpo, the well-known Giannis Antetokounmpo, has made a donation at the site to build an indoor court — I’m announcing this for the first time,” Bournous said at a campaign event ahead of local elections on Sunday.

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“It will be built with a modern method using a steel building frame so it can be ready by the end of the summer.”

Antetokounmpo’s Bucks are leading in the NBA Eastern Conference finals 2-1 over the Toronto Raptors.

The forward, the son of immigrants from Nigeria, was born and grew up in Athens and moved to the United States in 2013 to join the Bucks. He has a huge following in his home country, with fans following his games in the middle of the night.

Antetokounmpo maintains close ties with Greece and has taken part in campaigns to promote a Greek airline and tourism, as well as recycling. His older brother, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, lives in Athens and plays for local club Panathinaikos, coached by Rick Pitino, formerly of the Boston Celtics and the Louisville Cardinals.



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Secret Service Officers Are Being Sent to the Border


The U.S. Secret Service is now participating in a not-so-secret undertaking: dealing with the influx of migrants at America’s southern border. According to a communication from the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters reviewed by The Daily Beast, the small law enforcement agency has sent personnel to the border already and is looking to send more in the coming weeks.

The move came in response to a directive then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sent out earlier this spring asking each component of the department to find volunteers and dispatch them to the border. Even though it’s most closely associated with the White House, the Secret Service—along with a host of other entities and agencies—is a component of DHS. And as a result, it’s shipping people south.

A DHS spokesperson did not dispute this reporting.

“As we have consistently said, the Department is considering all options to address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem. As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress.”

The Daily Beast reported last week that the arm of DHS that handles threats to America’s cybersecurity and critical infrastructure, called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has struggled to find enough volunteers to head to the border and fulfill DHS headquarters’ request. The agency works to secure election systems, schools, and places of worship—all of which face acute threats.

Besides protecting the president, the first family, and other prominent government figures, the Secret Service also conducts criminal investigations. Its focuses include financial crimes and cybersecurity threats.

The diversion of law enforcement and national security personnel to the border has concerned some congressional Democrats, who say it may be a misuse of limited government resources. But pushing back against the dramatic increase in people trying to enter the U.S. through the southern border has become has become a singular priority of President Trump. In both March and April, law enforcement officials apprehended more than 100,000 people trying to enter the U.S., according to DHS statistics.

During the Obama administration, the agency was beset by scandal: Washington socialites slipped past agents and crashed the president’s first state dinner; a Secret Service agent told his counterparts to stand down after a man fired a gun at the White House, thinking the sound came from a car backfiring; an agent who traveled to Amsterdam with the president to protect him got drunk and passed out in a hallway; and more, as NBC News has detailed.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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U.S. garlic growers profit from trade war as most farmers struggle


GILROY, California (Reuters) – Unlike millions of other U.S. farmers, garlic growers are profiting from the trade war with China and have cheered President Donald Trump’s latest economic attack accordingly.

Ken Christopher holds a garlic plant at Christopher Ranch in Gilroy, California, U.S., March 29, 2019. Picture taken March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Sales of California-grown garlic are now increasing after decades of losing ground to cheaper Chinese imports. Sales are poised to get even better as Chinese garlic faces even higher tariffs, with no end to the trade war in sight.

“In a perfect world, we’d love to see the tariffs stay on forever,” said Ken Christopher, executive vice president of family owned Christopher Ranch, the largest of three remaining commercial garlic producers in the United States.

While many farmers are suffering through the trade war because they relied heavily on imports to China, U.S. garlic growers benefit because they rely overwhelmingly on domestic sales.

Tariffs on Chinese garlic increased from 10 to 25 percent on May 9, when the U.S. hiked tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and dashed hopes that a U.S.-China trade deal could come soon.

While soybean farmers in the U.S. Midwest watched silos fill with unsold crops as top buyer China all but stopped purchases, Christopher Ranch saw domestic garlic sales rise 15 percent in the last quarter of 2018 after the U.S. applied a 10 percent tariff on imports of Chinese garlic in September.

Then Trump ordered even higher tariffs this month after trade talks broke down when China backtracked on a host of issues crucial to U.S. officials.

The escalation came just a few weeks before the U.S. garlic harvest.

“The timing couldn’t be better for us,” Christopher said. “We anticipate a surge in demand for California garlic in the coming weeks.”

Christopher, 33, whose farm has 59,000 acres of grass-like garlic fields in Gilroy, California, traveled to Washington D.C. in July to urge the Trump administration to include garlic in the list of imports that would face tariffs.

In lobbying for tariffs, Christopher follows in the footsteps of his father, who fought to implement an anti-dumping duty of up to 400 percent on Chinese garlic in the 1990s.

“We understand in a broader economic sense that a trade war is not in the U.S. best interest,” he said, “But since the tariffs were happening anyway, we needed to be sure that garlic was part of the equation.”

Not everyone is a fan of the garlic tariff. While Christopher was testifying in favor of tariffs to congressional committees, executives from one of the world’s top seasoning companies, McCormick & Company Inc., were arguing against them.

McCormick says its recipes mostly rely on Chinese garlic, calling it a different product from what is grown in the United States.

“They’re not substitutable,” CEO Lawrence Kurzius told Reuters in an interview. “Just like wine, origin matters and terroir matter.”

Taste differences aside, California garlic has traditionally sold at far higher prices than Chinese garlic. It now sells for about $60 per 30-pound box on the wholesale market, according to Christopher. Until recently, Chinese garlic sold for $20 per box, but that has risen to $40 with tariffs and will likely soon rise further, he said.

The new profits U.S. garlic farmers have enjoyed from tariffs are an exception in the U.S. farm sector.

China last year retaliated to Trump’s tariffs with duties on U.S. goods including soybeans, corn and pork.

Trump has pledged up to an additional $20 billion in aid to help U.S. farmers hurt by the prolonged dispute after groups such as the American Soybean Association criticized the failure to reach a deal. That’s on top of $12 billion the administration promised last year to compensate farmers for trade-war losses.

Slideshow (28 Images)

The trade war has also left many West Coast specialty crop farmers, like nut and cherry growers, scrambling to find alternative markets after China imposed steep duties on imports that made their products too expensive to sell there.

Jamie Johansson, an olive farmer and president of the California farm bureau – which represents 400 crops and 36,000 members – said the Trump administration had put California farmers in the middle of tariff wars with four of the state’s five top markets, including China.

“Among our members, I have not heard of anyone benefiting from the current trade war and tariffs,” Johansson said.

Additional reporting and writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot



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West Virginia city manager pleads guilty to drunken driving


WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) – The city manager of Wheeling, West Virginia, has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Intelligencer reports suspended City Manager Robert Herron entered his plea Monday and was sentenced to 104 hours of a community service. He was also ordered to pay a $200 fine.

Authorities have said Herron was involved in a car crash in March and arrested with a blood-alcohol level of about .305%. The legal state limit is .08%. He was initially charged with aggravated DUI, but that charge was later downgraded to non-aggravated.

The city has suspended Herron indefinitely without pay. Mayor Glenn Elliott has said the city would address Herron’s employment status this month. Herron’s attorney, Robert McCoid, says his client plans meet with the City Council on Tuesday.

___



Information from: The Intelligencer, http://www.theintelligencer.net

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.





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Walmart says it will raise prices because of tariffs


“We’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep prices low. That’s who we are. However, increased tariffs will lead to increased prices, we believe, for our customers.” Walmart chief financial officer Brett Biggs told reporters on a call after the retailer reported earnings for the first quarter of 2019.

Biggs did not say which items will become more expensive at Walmart. He noted, however, that Walmart’s merchant teams have been developing strategies to mitigate cost increases and working with its suppliers to manage prices.

Walmart has less exposure to China than many other retailers because more than half of its sales come from groceries. Most of the food Walmart sells comes from the United States and other regions such as South America.

But Walmart (WMT) still imports 26% of its merchandise from China, UBS analyst Michael Lasser estimated in a report earlier this week. Target (TGT) imports 34% of its products from China. Other companies, including sporting goods, auto parts and furniture sellers, have even greater exposure to China.
Last week, the Trump administration hiked tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese-made goods. The tariffs mostly hit industrial materials and component parts, but also applied to luggage, hats and gloves for US importers.
Additionally, the United States has started a formal process to put new tariffs in place on the remaining exports coming from China that aren’t already taxed. That could make a number of goods, including toys, clothes and sneakers, more expensive for American consumers.
Retailers depend heavily on China in their supply chain. China accounted for about 41% of all apparel, 72% of all footwear, and 84% of all travel goods imported into the United States in 2017, according to a letter several retail trade groups sent to the Trump administration last week.

Other retailers have also recently warned that tariffs will hit their businesses.

On Wednesday, Macy’s said it will raise prices on some merchandise because of the trade war with China.

“If the potential fourth tranche of tariffs is placed on all Chinese imports, that will have an impact on both our private and our national brands,” CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts on an earnings call. He said it would be hard for Macy’s to “find a path” to avoid increasing prices on consumers.

Walmart is surging

Tariffs pose an obstacle for Walmart, one of the strongest retailers in the United States.

During its first quarter, Walmart’s sales at US stores open at least a grew 3.4% compared to the same time last year. That marked Walmart’s fourth-straight quarter of sales growth above 3% at stores open at least a year.

“The US business continues to benefit from a healthy economic environment,” CFO Biggs said in a statement earlier Thursday.

Walmart’s online sales growth clocked in at 37% last quarter, a tick down from the 40% rate online sales grew last year. Walmart has ramped up its online grocery business and acquired trendy fashion brands such as Bonobos and Eloquii. Online grocery pickup and delivery buoyed online sales, according to the company.

“We’re pleased with how we started the year,” CEO Doug McMillon said. “We have a stronger foundation in place with our stores, and we’re making good progress in e-commerce.”

One analyst Thursday attributed Walmart’s strength to its decision to continue lowering its prices, despite higher costs and investments in remodeling stores and building out its online infrastructure.

“Shoppers are now becoming more price sensitive, which plays into one of Walmart’s core strengths,” Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail said in a note to clients.

—CNN Business’ Katie Lobosco contributed to this article.



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Doctor says underweight baby tested positive for cocaine


KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) – A July sentencing has been scheduled for an Iowa mom and dad whose underweight 3-month-old daughter tested positive for cocaine.

Marion County District Court records show 20-year-old Stazia Kirk and 21-year-old Zak Herman pleaded guilty last week to felony neglect of a dependent person. Their sentencing is scheduled for July 18.

Court documents say their baby, Charlotte, weighed less than her birth weight when she was taken to a hospital in December. A doctor says the baby tested positive for cocaine and was suffering from malnutrition and dehydration. The documents also say Kirk and Herman admitted to using cocaine recently. They lived in Pella at the time.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.





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Lillard separated ribs in Game 2 against the Warriors


Portland‘s Damian Lillard sustained separated ribs in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors.

Lillard confirmed the injury on Sunday, a day after the Trail Blazers lost 110-99 in Game 3. Lillard was 5 of 18 from the floor and finished with 19 points in Portland’s third straight loss in the series.

The injury was originally reported by The Athletic. Lillard said the separation is on the left side, and he wore protective padding in Game 3.

“I don’t think it’s something that’s affecting my game. It’s there but it’s not something that’s affecting anything that I’m doing. Obviously you feel it, but that’s it,” he said.

Lillard was hurt in the third quarter Thursday when Golden State’s Kevon Looney landed on top of him in a scramble for the ball.

He said the injury is painful at times when he gets winded and it’s difficult to breathe, and when there’s contact with other players.

The Warriors can close out the series with a victory Monday. No team has ever rallied from a 0-3 deficit in the playoffs to win a series.

“Obviously it’s frustrating. I think Game 2, we had that game. We let that one slip away. Had a double-digit lead in Game 3, let that one slip away as well,” Lillard said. “So I think it’s frustrating for that reason. Because you could be up 2-1, and you’re down 0-3. And you look at the numbers and it’s a slim chance of you winning the series like that. But I mean we got a lot to play for: Obviously you never know when the first time is going to happen. We could be the first team to do it.”

Although he says he’s unaffected, the injury is still a blow to the Blazers, who are in the conference finals for the first time in 19 years.

A four-time All-Star, Lillard averaged 25.9 points and 6.9 assists during the regular season. He averaged 33 points in the first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City, hitting a series-clinching 3-pointer in Game 5.

The Blazers were already without center Jusuf Nurkic, who broke his leg late in the season. Portland has started Enes Kanter, as well as Meyers Leonard in Game 3 against the Warriors, in Nurkic’s absence.



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UK Duchess Kate shows off garden skills at Chelsea Flower Show


By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) – Kate, Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, released new pictures of her family playing in a woodland wilderness garden she designed for London’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Co-created with landscape artists Andree Davies and Adam White, Kate’s “Back to Nature Garden” includes a rope swing, a tree house and a stream with waterfalls.

Her office said Kate, wife of Prince William, was a strong advocate in the mental and physical benefits that nature and the outdoors had on children and adults alike.

“It’s a natural space, a really exciting space, for kids and adults alike to share and explore,” she told broadcasters ahead of the opening of the garden on Monday.

“I really feel that nature, being interactive outdoors has huge benefits on physical and mental well-being particularly for young kiddies.”

In a video posted on their Instagram account, the couple’s three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, can be seen playing on the swing, by a wooden den, and scrambling barefoot through a stream. Louis, who celebrated his first birthday last month, can be seen walking for the first time and waving a stick.

Kate said she had been focusing on early childhood development in her recent charity work.

“I believe that spending time outdoors when we are young can play a role in laying the foundations for children to become happy, healthy adults,” she said.

The Chelsea Flower Show, which is open to the press and guests on Monday and to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, is the most prestigious event in Britain’s gardening calendar.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mark Potter/Guy Faulconbridge)



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