Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Trump blames mass shootings on mentally ill, calls for more mental institutions
President Donald Trump said on Thursday he supports meaningful background checks for gun buyers, but he told reporters that those responsible for recent mass shootings were mentally ill and the United States should build more mental institutions. Trump said he had been speaking with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many other Republicans about the problem of gun violence and that "they don't want to have insane people, dangerous people, really bad people having guns."
Students caught in visa sting at fake university may sue U.S., court rules
A federal appeals court said foreign-born students may sue the U.S. government over claims it wrongfully canceled their visas, following a sting where it set up a fake university to entrap corrupt visa brokers. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia revived a proposed class action on behalf of more than 500 students who said they were deprived of due process when the government revoked their lawful immigration status after ensnaring them in the sting.
NASA picks Alabama site as HQ for human moon lander program: sources
The head of NASA is set to announce plans on Friday to name the U.S. space agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama as headquarters for its human lunar lander program, signaling progress in its drive to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, three people familiar with the plan said. NASA also will designate its Johnson Space Center in Houston to oversee development of a spacecraft to launch astronauts off the moon's surface to a platform in lunar orbit dubbed Gateway, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
'Jimmy Kimmel Live' hit with $395,000 fine over emergency tones in skit
Simulated wireless alert tones used in a "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" skit making fun of a presidential alert test have cost Walt Disney Co's ABC $395,000 in civil fines with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. AMC Networks separately on Thursday agreed to pay a $104,000 fine for using an alert tone in a February 2019 episode of the "The Walking Dead." The commission handed down smaller fines to Discovery's Animal Planet and Meruelo Radio Holdings for other violations.
'Hollywood Ripper' found guilty of murdering 2 women, including Ashton Kutcher's date
A jury found a man nicknamed the "Hollywood Ripper" guilty on Thursday of knifing to death two women, including actor Ashton Kutcher's date, and attempting to murder a third victim during a seven-year span. Michael Gargiulo, a 43-year-old former handyman and aspiring actor, sat impassively, leaning forward slightly in his chair, as the jury verdict was read.
U.S. federal death row inmate challenges January execution
Lawyers for one of five federal prisoners scheduled by President Donald Trump's administration for execution have launched a two-pronged legal effort to prevent the government from carrying out the lethal injection slated for January. The U.S. government has not carried out an execution since 2003 amid legal challenges to its lethal injection protocol, but Attorney General William Barr last month said it would resume capital punishment and scheduled the execution of five convicted murderers who were tried in federal rather than state courts.
Suspect in Philadelphia shooting standoff taken into custody
A suspect was taken into custody early on Thursday after a seven-hour armed standoff at a Philadelphia home in which six police officers were wounded in a barrage of bullets. The gunman had barricaded himself inside the home as police urged him to surrender. News media outlets reported he was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and several handguns.
Democratic presidential hopeful O'Rourke back on campaign trail; Hickenlooper drops out
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said on Thursday he was resuming his campaign with a new sense of focus after a mass shooting in his Texas hometown, while rival John Hickenlooper ended his bid to take on President Donald Trump. Both men have struggled with low opinion poll numbers in the historically large field of candidates running for president in 2020, and both have faced mounting calls to run instead for competitive U.S. Senate seats in their respective states.
Trump rule targeting poor immigrants could harm children, health: advocates
A Trump administration plan to cut legal immigration by poor people will likely result in sicker children, more communicable diseases and greater homelessness in the United States, according to immigrant advocates and the federal government's own analysis. Under a rule unveiled this week, the administration can reject applicants for temporary or permanent visas if they fail to meet high enough income standards or if they receive public assistance such as welfare, food stamps, public housing or Medicaid.
Jeffrey Epstein autopsy report shows broken neck: sources
An autopsy of the financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, found his neck had been broken in several places, according to two law enforcement sources. Such injuries can occur to people who hang themselves or who are strangled.