National News

National News at a Glance

Posted November 21, 2018 10:41 p.m. EST

Chief Justice Defends Judicial Independence After Trump Attacks ‘Obama Judge’

Chief Justice John Roberts defended the independence and integrity of the federal judiciary on Wednesday, rebuking President Donald Trump for calling a judge who had ruled against his administration’s asylum policy “an Obama judge." The chief justice said that was a profound misunderstanding of the judicial role. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” said Roberts, who was appointed by President George W. Bush. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

U.S. Troops at Border Won’t Have Guns, Mattis Says

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday that U.S. troops stationed at the southwest border would not be armed with guns to confront incoming migrants. “We are not doing law enforcement,” Mattis insisted. “There is no arrest authority under Posse Comitatus for U.S. federal troops,” he said, referring to the Posse Comitatus Act that dates to the Reconstruction era. The law bars U.S. forces from engaging in law enforcement activities within the United States. The Pentagon has resisted directives from the White House to prod active-duty troops toward a more aggressive role at the border.

Cooling, Cleansing Rains May Only Add to Misery

The first major rainstorm in months brought misery and jubilation Wednesday to a region of Northern California decimated by a firestorm that raced through towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills and sent choking smoke across the state. The rain is helping to extinguish the Camp Fire, the deadliest in the state’s history, and had cleared the air of smoke that had closed many schools. But the rain also brought potentially treacherous conditions to firefighters working in steep ravines as they tried to stamp out the fire’s remnants. And it multiplied the suffering of the evacuees, some of whom have been living outside.

Few People Received Official Alerts as Wildfire Closed In

In the frenzied first hours of the wildfire on Nov. 8 that reduced Paradise to ashes and became the deadliest in California history, only a fraction of people living near the fire received alerts or evacuation orders from local authorities. The Butte County Sheriff’s Department used what experts say is an outdated system to call residents, a service residents had to sign up for — and few had. They said they didn't issue an Amber Alert-style message that could reach all cellular phones in the area partly out of fear of causing panic and traffic jams on the one main roadway out of Paradise.

Border Patrol Agent Who Shot Mexican Teenager Is Acquitted of Involuntary Manslaughter

A Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a Mexican teenager from across the border in Arizona was acquitted Wednesday of involuntary manslaughter in a case that has drawn national attention amid heightened debate over immigration. In 2012, the border guard, Lonnie Swartz, opened fire into the Mexican city of Nogales, killing 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez. A jury found Swartz not guilty of second-degree murder in April but deadlocked on manslaughter charges, prompting another trial. Next month, a judge from the U.S. District Court in Arizona will decide the status of the voluntary manslaughter charge, which the jury’s verdict left in question.

Texas Students Will Now Learn That Slavery Was ‘Central’ to the Civil War

The Texas State Board of Education revised its standards for social studies curricula in public schools to say that the expansion of slavery played “the central role” in causing the American Civil War. Under the current educational standards in Texas, adopted in 2010, slavery is listed as one of several causes of the Civil War, after sectionalism and states’ rights. But now the standards will say that elementary school students should be able to identify “the central role of the expansion of slavery in causing the Civil War and other contributing factors, including sectionalism and states’ rights.” The wording is slightly different for middle school students.

Girl, 13, Who Wrote Essay on Gun Violence Is Killed by Stray Bullet

When she was in sixth grade, Sandra Parks wrote an award-winning essay about gun violence and crime in her hometown, Milwaukee. On Monday, two years after she described how “we are in a state of chaos,” she was fatally shot when someone outside fired a gun at her home and a stray bullet went into her bedroom. Sandra, 13, "took it like a soldier: She just walked in the room and said, ‘Mama, I’m shot,’ ” said her sister, Tatiana Ingram. The Milwaukee County district attorney’s office charged Isaac D. Barnes, 26, and Untrell Oden, 27, with first-degree reckless homicide and other counts in Sandra’s death.

The First Turkey Trot Started a Thanksgiving Tradition

For many people, taking part in a turkey trot is as much a part of Thanksgiving as an awkward conversation with your angry uncle. More than 1 million people are expected to finish a race related to the holiday this year, according to Running USA. And there are about 1,000 races to choose from across the country, making Thanksgiving the most popular day of the year to run. Runners can give thanks to folks in Buffalo, New York, for this tradition. The 8K YMCA Turkey Trot in Buffalo has been around since 1896, which organizers say makes it the “oldest consecutively run footrace in North America.”