AP source: Suspect in Capitol attack suffered delusions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The man who rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol, killing one of them before he was shot to death by police, had been suffering from delusions, paranoia and suicidal thoughts, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Saturday. Investigators believe it was an isolated incident from a disturbed young man.
Video of the Friday afternoon attack shows the driver emerging from the crashed car with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. Police shot the suspect, 25-year-old Noah Green, who died at a hospital.
Investigators are increasingly focused on Green's mental health as they work to identify any motive for the attack, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity. The official said investigators had talked to Green's family, who spoke of his increasingly delusional thoughts.
In online posts since removed, Green described being under government thought control and said he was being watched. He described himself as a follower of the Nation of Islam and its founder, Louis Farrakhan, and spoke of going through a difficult time when he leaned on his faith. Some of the messages were captured by the group SITE, which tracks online activity.
“To be honest these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher,” he wrote in late March. “I have been tried with some of the biggest, unimaginable tests in my life. I am currently now unemployed after I left my job partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey.”
Vaccine passports are latest flash point in COVID politics
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Vaccine passports being developed to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine have become the latest flash point in America’s perpetual political wars, with Republicans portraying them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.
They currently exist in only one state — a limited government partnership in New York with a private company — but that hasn’t stopped GOP lawmakers in a handful of states from rushing out legislative proposals to ban their use.
The argument over whether passports are a sensible response to the pandemic or governmental overreach echoes the bitter disputes over the past year about masks, shutdown orders and even the vaccines themselves.
Vaccine passports are typically an app with a code that verifies whether someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19. They are in use in Israel and under development in parts of Europe, seen as a way to safely help rebuild the pandemic- devastated travel industry.
They are intended to allow businesses to more safely open up as the vaccine drive gains momentum, and they mirror measures already in place for schools and overseas travel that require proof of immunization against various diseases.
Deadly breach could delay decisions about Capitol fencing
WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest deadly breach of the Capitol’s perimeter could delay the gradual reopening of the building’s grounds to the public just as lawmakers were eyeing a return to more normal security measures following the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Capitol Police officer William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force, was killed Friday when a man rammed his car into a barrier outside the Senate side of the building. The driver, identified as 25-year-old Noah Green, was shot and killed after he ran his car into Evans and another officer, got out and lunged at police with a knife.
The deaths came less than two weeks after the Capitol Police removed an outer fence that had temporarily cut off a wide swath of the area to cars and pedestrians, blocking major traffic arteries that cross the city. The fencing had been erected to secure the Capitol after the violent mob of of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the building Jan. 6., interrupting the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. The violence lead to the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer.
Police, who took the brunt of the assaults that day, have left intact a second ring of fencing around the inner perimeter of the Capitol as they struggle to figure out how to best protect the building and those who work inside it. That tall, dark fencing — parts of it covered in razor wire until just recently -- is still a stark symbol of the fear many in the Capitol felt after the mob laid siege two months ago.
Lawmakers have almost universally loathed the fencing, saying the seat of American democracy was meant to be open to the people, even if there was always going to be a threat.
Georgia governor vows a fight after MLB yanks All-Star Game
News of Major League Baseball’s decision to pull this summer’s All-Star Game from Georgia over its sweeping new voting law reverberated among fans Saturday, while Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to defend the measure, saying “free and fair elections” are worth any threats, boycotts or lawsuits.
The Republican governor said at a news conference that MLB “caved to fear and lies from liberal activists” when it yanked the July 13 game from Atlanta’s Truist Park. He added the decision will hurt working people in the state and have long-term consequences on the economy.
“I want to be clear: I will not be backing down from this fight. We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced,” Kemp said.
"Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not,” he said, referring to companies that have also criticized the new law.
Three groups already have filed a lawsuit over the measure, which adds greater legislative control over how elections are run and includes strict identification requirements for voting absentee by mail. It also limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to hand out food or water to voters waiting in line, among other provisions.
Pope urges hope amid 'darkness' of pandemic in Easter vigil
ROME (AP) — Pope Francis urged his coronavirus-weary flock to not lose hope even through the continued “dark months” of the pandemic as he celebrated a scaled-back Easter vigil service in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.
Due to social-distancing norms, only about 200 masked people were allowed to attend the service, which marks the period between Christ’s crucifixion and his joyous resurrection on Easter Sunday.
For the second year in a row, the Vatican cut out the traditional sacrament of baptism for a handful of adults to limit the chance of contagion. Usually a long, late-night ritual, this year's vigil service also started earlier than usual to respect Italy’s 10 p.m. COVID-19 curfew.
But the service began in the dramatic way it always does, with the pope lighting a single candle in the darkened basilica and then sharing its flame with others until the pews slowly begin to twinkle and the basilica's lights are turned on.
In his homily, Francis said Easter offers a message of hope and new starts.
Jordan prince, in video, says was placed under house arrest
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) —
The half-brother of Jordan's King Abdullah said Saturday he has been placed under house arrest by Jordanian authorities and accused the country's leadership of corruption and incompetence.
In a videotaped statement leaked to the British Broadcasting Corp., Prince Hamzah said he was visited early Saturday by the country's military chief and told "I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them.”
He said his security detail was removed, and his phone and Internet service had been cut. He said he was speaking over satellite Internet, but expected that service to be cut as well. The BBC says it received the statement from Hamzah's lawyer.
In the statement, Hamzah said he had been informed he was being punished for taking in part in meetings in which the king had been criticized, though he himself was not accused of being a direct critic.
Aiming big, Biden is looking to restore faith in government
WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Joe Biden preaches patience but acts with urgency, his vision of the powers of the Oval Office is quickly taking shape, modeled after Democratic predecessors who dramatically expanded the reach of government to confront generational crises.
In a recent meeting with historians and in private conversations with advisers, Biden looked to the examples set by Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson as he aims to use the levers of executive authority to create opportunities and break down barriers.
Unlike Roosevelt and Johnson, who enjoyed formidable Democratic majorities in Congress, Biden has had to operate with a no-margin-for-error edge in fiercely partisan Washington.
Born soon after Roosevelt’s New Deal and having first run for office in the shadow of Johnson’s Great Society, Biden has long believed in government as an instrument for good. Now, with the COVID-19 public health pandemic and the economic carnage it wrought, that philosophy is being put to a fundamental test and Biden's place in history is in the balance.
He has chosen momentous action over incremental, willing to cast aside visions of a bipartisan Washington in
Confederate symbols prove difficult to remove in many states
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Just past the gate at an entrance to the Texas Capitol, a large monument
It is one of seven Confederate memorials on the Texas Capitol grounds alone. There are over 2,000 Confederate symbols — from monuments to building names — in public spaces nationwide, more than a century and a half after the Civil War ended slavery, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The movement to remove Confederate monuments and depictions of historical figures who mistreated Native Americans became part of the national reckoning over racial injustice following George Floyd's death last year in Minneapolis. While many have been removed — or torn down by protesters — it's proven difficult to remove those that remain.
At least six Southern states have policies protecting monuments, the law
“We are at a really important moment of reckoning and racial justice,” said Texas Rep. Rafael Anchia, a Democrat who introduced a proposal in the Republican-controlled Legislature to remove Confederate depictions at the Statehouse. “This fits into that process of really racial truth and reconciliation."
UK: Benefits outweigh risks for AstraZeneca despite 7 deaths
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s medicines regulator is urging people to continue taking the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, despite revealing that seven people in the U.K. have died from rare blood clots after getting the jab.
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, said it wasn't clear if the shots are causing the clots, and that its “rigorous review into the U.K. reports of rare and specific types of blood clots is ongoing.”
Though the agency said late Friday that seven people had died as a result of developing blood clots, it didn’t disclose any information about their ages or health conditions.
In total, MHRA said it had identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events out of 18.1 million AstraZeneca doses administered up to and including March 24. The risk associated with this type of blood clot is “very small,” it added.
“The benefits of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca in preventing COVID-19 infection and its complications continue to outweigh any risks and the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so,” said Dr. June Raine, the agency’s chief executive.
Coming out of the cave: As life creeps back, some feel dread
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Dinner reservations are gleefully being made again.
But not everyone is racing back.
Their stories are emerging as the world begins to reopen — people secretly dreading each milestone toward normalcy, envisioning instead anxiety-inducing crowds and awkward catch-up conversations. Even small tasks outside the home — a trip to the grocery store, or returning to the office — can feel overwhelming.
Psychologists call it re-entry fear, and they’re finding it more common as headlines herald the imminent return to post-pandemic life.
“I have embraced and gotten used to this new lifestyle of avoidance that I can’t fathom going back to how it was. I have every intention of continuing to isolate myself,” says Thomas Pietrasz, who lives alone and works from his home in the Chicago suburbs as a content creator. His alcohol and marijuana use also increased during the pandemic.
The Associated Press