Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Gunman's death in mass shooting at northern California food festival ruled suicide

An autopsy has found that the 19-year-old man who opened fire with an assault rifle at a weekend food festival in Northern California, killing three people, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County coroner said on Friday. The ruling of suicide contradicts the original account of police who said the gunman was shot dead by police officers who were on patrol at Sunday's Gilroy Garlic Festival and confronted the suspect when he began his rampage.

With Puerto Rico leader set to quit, successor still unknown

With only hours before Puerto Rico's disgraced governor was set to step down on Friday, the bankrupt U.S. territory still did not know who would succeed him. Over a week ago, Governor Ricardó Rossello bowed to 12 days of mass protests sparked by offensive chat messages and said he would resign at 5 p.m. on Friday.

No signs of trauma found on body of Robert F. Kennedy's granddaughter

An autopsy conducted on the 22-year-old granddaughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy found no trauma to her body, leaving the cause and manner of her death to be determined following toxicology tests, the local district attorney's office said on Friday. Saoirse Kennedy Hill was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital in Massachusetts shortly after 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday after she was found unresponsive at the Kennedy family's compound in nearby Hyannis Port, the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office said in a written statement.

U.S. Navy pilot killed in California crash was 33-year-old lieutenant

The fighter pilot who perished in the crash of his fighter jet in Death Valley National Park in California was identified by the U.S. Navy on Friday as Lieutenant Charles Walker, who had served in the armed forces for the past 10 years. The 33-year-old Navy aviator was killed when his F/A-18E Super Hornet, a single-seat aircraft, went down on Wednesday during low-altitude training exercises in the Rainbow Canyon area of the park, about 130 miles (210 km) west of Las Vegas.

Singer R. Kelly makes first New York court appearance on sex trafficking charges

Singer R. Kelly is expected to plead not guilty in New York on Friday to charges that he ran a criminal scheme in which he recruited women and underage girls to have sex with him, isolating them and often controlling what they ate and when they went to the bathroom. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn say that Kelly and his entourage invited women and girls backstage after concerts, kept them from friends and family and made them dependent on him financially.

Trump rule restricting asylum seekers struck down by court

A U.S. federal judge on Friday struck down one of President Donald Trump's initiatives to curtail asylum claims, ruling that the government could not reject migrants who had crossed the border illegally. A different federal judge had already put a temporary block on the policy, which would have rejected asylum claims from people who entered the United States between legal ports of entry. The ruling on Friday by U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss in Washington, D.C. went further by finding the Trump rule violated immigration law.

One killed, two hurt after cliff collapses onto California beach

One person was killed and two others hurt on Friday when a cliff overlooking a Southern California beach collapsed onto them, local officials said. First responders were at the scene of the incident, near a lifeguard tower, assisting in rescue efforts, the city of Encinitas said on Twitter. No further details were immediately available

NYC police officer who killed Eric Garner should be fired, police judge rules

A white New York City police officer who killed an unarmed black man with a banned chokehold in 2014 should be fired, a police judge recommended on Friday in a case that stoked the Black Lives Matter movement and reverberated in the U.S. presidential campaign. Officer Daniel Pantaleo had been on desk duty since widely viewed cellphone videos showed him using the chokehold on Eric Garner during an attempted arrest on a sidewalk in Staten Island, one of five boroughs in the most populous U.S. city. Police believed Garner was selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Philadelphia Phillies sue to keep their 'beloved' Phillie Phanatic

The Phillie Phanatic, one of the most recognizable mascots in American sports, is the subject of a lawsuit by the Philadelphia Phillies, trying to stop the mascot's creators from taking away the baseball team's bright green, fat, furry, long-beaked creature. In a federal complaint filed on Friday in Manhattan, the Phillies accused Harrison/Erickson Inc and its principals, Wayde Harrison and Bonnie Erickson, of reneging on a 1984 agreement to let the Phillies use the Phanatic "forever."

Exclusive: PES may report toxic chemical release in June refinery blast -sources

Philadelphia Energy Solutions was expected to report to government officials on Friday that the toxic chemical hydrofluoric acid may have been released from its refinery in June, when a series of blasts and fire damaged the plant, two sources familiar with the plan said. It was unclear how much of the chemical might have been released from the refinery or if the PES report would be made public, the sources said. PES officials were not immediately available for comment.

  • Former head of pandemic response team speaks out: 'I'm frankly scared'
    Yahoo News

    Former head of pandemic response team speaks out: 'I'm frankly scared'

    The official who oversaw epidemic preparedness for the National Security Council under President Obama said the absence of public guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic leaves her “frankly scared” — and that eliminating her position weakened the American response to the coronavirus when it emerged 18 months later. Beth Cameron, who served as senior director for global health security and biodefense on the NSC until early 2017, was interviewed on the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast. “I'm frankly scared that our CDC is not out in front talking about this,” Cameron said.

  • Oxford scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine say there is now only a 50% chance of success because the number of UK cases is falling too quickly
    Business Insider

    Oxford scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine say there is now only a 50% chance of success because the number of UK cases is falling too quickly

    YouTube/University of Oxford Oxford scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine say the chances of success are now 50%. They say that's because the number of people with the virus in the UK is falling too quickly. "At the moment, there's a 50% chance that we get no result at all," scientist Adam Hill said this weekend.

  • 'No mask shaming': GOP governor gives emotional plea
    NBC News

    'No mask shaming': GOP governor gives emotional plea

    Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota issued an emotional plea for residents of his state to avoid "ideological or political" divides on the choice to wear face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. “If someone is wearing a mask, they're not doing it to represent what political party they're in or what candidates they support,” Burgum said during a press conference on Friday. “I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could just skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going through where they're trading a divide — either it's ideological or political or something — around masks versus no mask," said Burgum.

  • Pakistan plane crash survivor: 'All I could see was fire'
    BBC

    Pakistan plane crash survivor: 'All I could see was fire'

    One of the survivors of Friday's plane crash in the Pakistani city of Karachi has described his ordeal, saying all he could see "was fire". Passenger Muhammad Zubair was one of at least two passengers who survived after the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Airbus A320 came down in a residential area. It came days after Pakistan allowed commercial flights to resume after the country's coronavirus lockdown was eased.

  • Is international travel allowed yet? See when Spain, Mexico, Iceland plan to reopen borders
    USA TODAY

    Is international travel allowed yet? See when Spain, Mexico, Iceland plan to reopen borders

    Americans with a bad case of wanderlust may have to wait until later this summer to vacation abroad – and while some countries, including Spain, have announced target dates to reopen, the pickings will be slim for a while. Parts of Mexico and the Caribbean have targeted dates in early to mid-June for reopening from coronavirus restrictions, but Europe will lag, opening first to other citizens of European Union and Schengen Area countries before welcoming international visitors at a later date. At least one EU member nation has announced a target window, however: Spain's prime minister announced Saturday that his country will reopen to foreign tourists sometime in July, though he did not specify a date.

  • Moscow espionage trial of ex-US marine Whelan to wrap up
    AFP

    Moscow espionage trial of ex-US marine Whelan to wrap up

    The trial in Moscow of ex-US marine Paul Whelan on espionage charges is set to conclude Monday, ending a court proceeding that has strained ties with Washington and fuelled speculation of a prisoner exchange. Whelan, 50, who also holds Irish, Canadian and British citizenship, was detained in Moscow in December 2018 for allegedly receiving state secrets. "In a just system, the court would acquit Paul based on the lack of evidence," Whelan's brother David said in a statement ahead of the hearing.

  • Charlamagne Tha God Reacts to Joe Biden’s ‘You Ain’t Black’ Apology
    The Daily Beast

    Charlamagne Tha God Reacts to Joe Biden’s ‘You Ain’t Black’ Apology

    MSNBC's Joy Reid opened her interview with Charlamagne Tha God on Sunday morning by congratulating him on his interview this past week with former Vice President Joe Biden—even if all anyone wants to talk about are the final few seconds. “You've got more questions?” Biden asked. Shortly after that interview, Biden apologized for his remarks on a conference call with the Black Chamber of Commerce.

  • China says opposes all U.S. restrictions on Chinese airlines
    Reuters

    China says opposes all U.S. restrictions on Chinese airlines

    China said on Monday it opposes all U.S. restrictions imposed against Chinese airlines, responding to a report that the U.S. Transportation Department has demanded Chinese carriers file their schedules and other flight details by May 27. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said flight restrictions imposed by Beijing treated all airlines equally and were due to efforts to curb COVID-19 related risks. The U.S. government late on Friday accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China.

  • Georgia reopened first. What the data show is a matter of fierce debate
    LA Times

    Georgia reopened first. What the data show is a matter of fierce debate

    Nearly a month after Georgia became the first state to allow businesses to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown, Gov. Brian Kemp took to a conservative radio show to tout some good news. Hospitalizations were down more than 30% in less than three weeks, and Georgia had ramped up its testing, with a per capita rate that placed it 20th out of 54 U.S. states and territories, up from 46th a month ago, he explained. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported that unlike many other states, Georgia calculates its total number of tests by combining viral diagnostic checks, which indicate current infection, and antibody tests, which indicate past infection.

  • U.S. limits travel from Brazil amid worsening coronavirus outbreak
    Reuters

    U.S. limits travel from Brazil amid worsening coronavirus outbreak

    The White House on Sunday said it was restricting travel from Brazil to the United States, two days after the South American nation became the world's No. 2 hotspot for coronavirus cases. The travel ban was a blow to right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has followed the example of U.S. President Donald Trump in addressing the pandemic, fighting calls for social distancing and touting unproven drugs. "The U.S. maintains a strong partnership with Brazil and we work closely to mitigate the socioeconomic and health impacts of COVID-19 in Brazil," the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia said in a statement.

  • Defiant protesters chanting 'liberate Hong Kong' flood the streets to oppose China's grab for control
    Business Insider

    Defiant protesters chanting 'liberate Hong Kong' flood the streets to oppose China's grab for control

    REUTERS/Tyrone Siu Hong Kong police fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse thousands of protesting on Sunday, against Beijing's plan to impose national security laws. China has launched new efforts to increase its control over Hong Kong after mass protests in 2019 hampered its efforts to roll back the city's autonomy. Critics fear the provisions of the law will lead to the end of Hong Kong's independence.

  • Two dead in severe storms in Carolinas; thousands without power
    NBC News

    Two dead in severe storms in Carolinas; thousands without power

    Heavy rains and strong winds knocked down trees and power lines, leaving over 45,000 homes and businesses without power on Saturday morning. Emergency workers also responded to a deadly crash in Lancaster County, South Carolina, where strong winds uprooted a tree and utility pole that fell onto a pickup truck, killing the driver. Authorities identified the deceased driver as 57-year-old Joe Dale Humphries.

  • Western Australia hit by 'once-in-a-decade' storm
    BBC

    Western Australia hit by 'once-in-a-decade' storm

    Western Australia has been battered by a massive storm which ripped roofs off houses and downed trees across a 1,000km (620 miles) stretch of land. More than 60,000 homes were without power on Monday - most in the main city, Perth. The state's south was particularly hard hit with dust storms, torrential rain and huge waves along the coast.

  • Former head of pandemic response team at the NSC speaks out: 'I'm frankly scared'
    Yahoo News Video

    Former head of pandemic response team at the NSC speaks out: 'I'm frankly scared'

    The official who oversaw epidemic preparedness for the National Security Council under President Obama said the absence of public guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic leaves her “frankly scared. She also believes and that eliminating her position weakened the American response to the coronavirus when it emerged 18 months later.

  • Shiite Iran marks end of Ramadan on two different days in rare event
    AFP

    Shiite Iran marks end of Ramadan on two different days in rare event

    Shiite Iranians in a rare event mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan this year on separate days -- Sunday or Monday -- depending on different religious authorities' edicts. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced Saturday evening on his official website that the Eid al-Fitr festival would fall on Sunday this year. But the country's other senior Shiite clerics, or "marjas" -- whose guidance believers follow and who are seen as a "source of emulation", such as Javadi Amoli, Makarem Shirazi and Safi Golpayegani, among others -- have issued separate statements saying the holiday would be celebrated on Monday.

  • Joe Biden wins Hawaii presidential primary delayed by virus
    Associated Press

    Joe Biden wins Hawaii presidential primary delayed by virus

    Biden won 16 of Hawaii's delegates and Sanders will take eight. Biden has a total of 1,566 delegates to the party's national convention, according to the count by the Associated Press. He needs 1,991 delegates to win the nomination, a threshold he is projected to reach in June.

  • The Statue of Liberty as you've never seen her before
    CBS News

    The Statue of Liberty as you've never seen her before

    Last summer, architect Paul Davidson spent ten nights inside of the Statue of Liberty. From 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., he and his team carried out a first-of-its-kind laser scan of Lady Liberty, capturing the statue's interior during the hours when it wasn't packed full of tourists. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are currently closed to all visitors, shut down due to COVID-19.

  • Secondary schools given June 15 reopening date as Prime Minister labels return 'crucial'
    The Telegraph

    Secondary schools given June 15 reopening date as Prime Minister labels return 'crucial'

    Secondary schools will begin to reopen from June 15 so students can start preparing for exams next year, the Prime Minister announced on Sunday. Boris Johnson told the daily Downing Street press conference that some primary school pupils will return from June 1 “as planned”, while older students in Years 10 and 12 will begin going back two weeks later. Mr Johnson said the phased return of schools was “crucial” for children, and that all classrooms will be fully reopened by September “at the latest”, despite conceding that social distancing would be a challenge for primary school pupils.

  • Letters to the Editor: Why is the Trump administration working so hard to deport immigrant children?
    Los Angeles Times Opinion

    Letters to the Editor: Why is the Trump administration working so hard to deport immigrant children?

    To the editor: The appalling actions taken by the Trump administration against immigrant children is incomprehensible and is the clearest reflection of its moral decay. Trump and his allies have claimed again and again that they welcome immigrants who enter the country legally, yet while lawyers and sponsors struggle to follow the rules, our government moves these children from place to place without warning, will not disclose their whereabouts, and fast-tracks deportations to places so dangerous that they were willing to walk thousands of miles to escape them. To the editor: Compassion is yet another presidential quality that is missing in our current president.

  • Taiwan considers revoking Hong Kong's special status on law fears
    Reuters

    Taiwan considers revoking Hong Kong's special status on law fears

    China's planned national security law may prompt Taiwan to revoke the special status it extends to Hong Kong, President Tsai Ing-wen said, a move that could anger Beijing and make it harder for Hong Kongers to visit and invest. China is proposing the new legislation for the Chinese-ruled city after months of anti-government protests, and the decision has already ignited renewed unrest in Hong Kong and prompted condemnation from Western capitals. The demonstrators have won widespread sympathy in democratic Taiwan, and the support for the protesters by Tsai and her administration has worsened already poor ties between Taipei and Beijing.

  • Suffolk County police set identify one of Gilgo Beach victims
    WABC – NY

    Suffolk County police set identify one of Gilgo Beach victims

    Suffolk County police say they've positively identified a victim nicknamed Jane Doe number six in the nearly decade-old Gilgo Beach murders.

  • Coronavirus in South Africa: President Ramaphosa says outbreak will get worse
    BBC

    Coronavirus in South Africa: President Ramaphosa says outbreak will get worse

    The president of South Africa has warned that the country's coronavirus outbreak is going to get much worse, while announcing that lockdown measures are to be eased. Cyril Ramaphosa said a third of the country's more than 22,000 cases had been recorded in the last week. Mr Ramaphosa was speaking after a mining company in South Africa said 164 workers at a gold mine near Johannesburg had tested positive for coronavirus.

  • Taliban leverages pandemic to burnish image as violence in Afghanistan surges
    NBC News

    Taliban leverages pandemic to burnish image as violence in Afghanistan surges

    A perfect storm has gathered over one of the world's most benighted nations, Afghanistan, where ordinary citizens are facing a fresh form of misery. Taliban militants have announced they will keep fighting since they say there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in areas under the group's control, a senior militant in the province of Ghazni has told NBC News. An exception to the ongoing tensions will be a three-day Eid ceasefire starting Sunday, the Taliban announced in a tweet Saturday.

  • Expletive-filled video of Bolsonaro swearing at cabinet meeting released by Brazil's Supreme Court
    The Independent

    Expletive-filled video of Bolsonaro swearing at cabinet meeting released by Brazil's Supreme Court

    The populist president, who has faced sustained criticism over his approach to the coronavirus emergency as Brazil's death toll surges to over 20,000, is at the centre of a criminal investigation into claims he sought to replace top federal police officials. Sergio Moro, the ex Justice Minister, alleges Mr Bolsonaro sacked the federal police chief as he wanted someone in the position who would feed him police intelligence. Mr Moro, who headed up a major corruption clampdown, handed in his notice last month after Mr Bolsonaro sacked the federal police director-general without conferring with him.

  • Texas' Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called vote-by-mail a 'scam,' saying it's 'laughable' that people under 65 would be scared to vote in person
    Business Insider

    Texas' Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called vote-by-mail a 'scam,' saying it's 'laughable' that people under 65 would be scared to vote in person

    Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lashed out against attempts to expand vote-by-mail in the state amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, arguing people under 65 have no reason to be afraid to vote in person. Patrick claimed Democrats would use the opportunity "greatest scam ever" to commit voter fraud and the expansion would lead to the destruction of the US. Democrats and voting rights advocates have supported expanding voting by mail before November, as health experts warn of a potential second wave in the fall and winter.