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  • Police search of apartments fails to locate missing girl

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An intense search of an apartment complex didn’t turn up signs of a missing 3-year-old Alabama girl who was abducted from a birthday party days ago, police in Birmingham said Wednesday.

    Live video from news outlets showed police blocking off a street and the sound of a law enforcement helicopter overhead. Officers in helmets and other tactical gear were seen entering an apartment building.

    But the search, conducted less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) from where Kamille McKinney was last seen, didn’t turn up signs of the girl even though officers looked through every apartment and car in the area, said Sgt. Johnny Williams, a police spokesman.

    “We are still searching for her,” he said.

    Officers got a tip from someone who might have mistaken another child for the girl relatives call “Cupcake,” Williams said.

    The girl was snatched away from a birthday party outside a housing project in Birmingham on Saturday night, police said.

    At a news conference Wednesday evening, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith urged whoever took the child to return her.

    “I want to reach out to one individual. If you know where Kamille is, if you have her and you’re not sure what to do, I want to talk to you,” Smith said.

    “Safe passage is the way to go. Please bring her to one of our fire stations, the police station, a hospital,” the chief said. “If you don’t know what to do or where to and you’re frightened, we’re here to help you.”

    A man and a woman described as persons of interest were arrested and charged with crimes that police said were unrelated to the girl’s disappearance. But police said they don’t know where the child might be.

    Officials have announced rewards totaling $20,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the child’s disappearance. An Amber Alert seeking information about the girl was initially sent only to Alabama, but was later expanded to neighboring states.

    Anyone with information about where the child could be is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777 or call Birmingham police.

    https://www.apnews.com/29a2c25ca2984629b14321565c985f05

  • Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings has died

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a sharecropper’s son who rose to become the powerful chairman of a U.S. House committee that investigated President Donald Trump, died early Thursday of complications from longstanding health issues, his office said. He was 68.

    Cummings was a formidable orator who passionately advocated for the poor in his black-majority district , which encompasses a large portion of Baltimore as well as more well-to-do suburbs.

    As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings led multiple investigations of the president’s governmental dealings, including probes in 2019 relating to the president’s family members serving in the White House.

    Trump responded by criticizing the Democrat’s district as a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” The comments came weeks after Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his calls for Democratic congresswomen of color to get out of the U.S. “right now,” and go back to their “broken and crime-infested countries.”

    Cummings replied that government officials must stop making “hateful, incendiary comments” that only serve to divide and distract the nation from its real problems, including mass shootings and white supremacy.

    “Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” Cummings said in a speech at the National Press Club.

    Cummings’ long career spanned decades in Maryland politics. He rose through the ranks of the Maryland House of Delegates before winning his congressional seat in a special election in 1996 to replace former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who left the seat to lead the NAACP.

    Cummings was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2008. By 2016, Cummings was the senior Democrat on the House Benghazi Committee, which he said was “nothing more than a taxpayer-funded effort to bring harm to Hillary Clinton’s campaign” for president.

    Throughout his career, Cummings used his fiery voice to highlight the struggles and needs of inner-city residents. He was a firm believer in some much-debated approaches to help the poor and addicted, such as needle exchange programs as a way to reduce the spread of AIDS.

    A key figure in the Trump impeachment inquiry , Cummings had been hoping to return to Congress after a medical procedure he said would only keep him away for a week. His statement then didn’t detail the procedure. He had previously been treated for heart and knee issues.

    His constituents began mourning shortly after his death at 2:45 a.m. Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    In a statement, his widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, chairwoman of Maryland’s Democratic Party, said “Congressman Cummings was an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion and humility. He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem.”

    https://www.apnews.com/472ab99bda374c3ba906366d2f0a6d00

  • ‘See you at the polls’: Trump and Pelosi have it out

    WASHINGTON (AP) — He said she’s a “third-grade” politician. She said he’s having a meltdown.

    And with that President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chalked up the latest explosive meeting that ended abruptly with a walkout at the White House.

    It’s a familiar ritual, with Trump and congressional leaders meeting on official business, only to see the session devolve into colorful, name-calling commentary that’s a new kind of addition to the history books. But this time, against the backdrop of the fast-moving impeachment inquiry, Pelosi arrived not just as the leader of the opposing party, but as the speaker who could determine Trump’s political future.

    The administration called in congressional leadership to discuss the situation in Syria. The House had just voted, 354-60, to overwhelmingly oppose the president’s announced U.S. troop withdrawal, a rare bipartisan rebuke. Trump’s action has opened the door for a Turkish military attack on Syrian Kurds who have been aligned with the U.S. in fighting the country’s long-running war.

    Trump kicked off the meeting bragging about his “nasty” letter to Turkish President Recep Erdogan, according to a Democrat familiar with the meeting who was granted anonymity to discuss it. In the letter, Trump warned the Turkish leader, with exclamation points, not to be “slaughtering” the Kurds. The person called Trump’s opening a lengthy, bombastic monologue.

    Pelosi mentioned the House vote and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, started to read the president a quote from former Defense Secretary James Mattis on the need to keep U.S. troops in Syria to prevent a resurgent of Islamic State fighters.

    But Trump cut Schumer off, complaining that Mattis was “the world’s most overrated general. You know why? He wasn’t tough enough.” Trump went on, “I captured ISIS.”

    Pelosi explained to Trump that Russia has always wanted a “foothold in the Middle East,” and now it has one with the U.S. withdrawal, according to a senior Democratic aide who was also granted anonymity.

    “All roads with you lead to Putin,” the speaker said.

    Then it began.

    Trump said to Pelosi, “I hate ISIS more than you do.”

    Pelosi responded, “You don’t know that.”

    Schumer intervened at one point and said, “Is your plan to rely on the Syrians and the Turks?”

    Trump replied, “Our plan is to keep the American people safe.”

    Pelosi said: “That’s not a plan. That’s a goal.”

    Trump turned to Pelosi and complained about former President Barack Obama’s “red line” over Syria. According to Schumer, he then called her “a third-rate politician.”

    At that point, the genteel Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House Majority Leader, interjected, “This is not useful.”

    Pelosi and Hoyer stood and left the meeting. As they did, Trump said, “Goodbye, we’ll see you at the polls.”

    https://www.apnews.com/4fd1feb8a5f0403993fa1e4669758c7b

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