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Mexico City hit by magnitude 7.1 earthquake

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Mexico City Quake

Mexico City has been hit by a major earthquake, magnitude 7.1. Buildings have collapsed. The quake centered near Puebla state town of Raboso, 76 miles southeast of Mexico City itself. Thousands of people have taken to the streets waiting for any aftershocks.

It happened on the anniversary of the 8.1 magnitude quake that hit the city in 1985. Ironically, it’s the day that much of the city holds earthquake preparedness drills.

Perspectives

Dozens killed as powerful 7.1 earthquake strikes central Mexico | Kate Linthicum and Rong-Gong Lin II, LA Times

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-mexico-earthquake-20170919-story.htmlAuthorities in central Mexican state of Morelos reported 42 deaths, and officials said at least two more occurred in the State of Mexico, which surrounds the capital.

Mexico earthquake: Photos, videos show wrath of 7.1 quake | Abby Hamblin, The San Diego Union-Tribune

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation/sd-mexico-city-earthquake-photos-videos-20170919-htmlstory.htmlMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto happened to be en route to Oaxaca where a deadly 8.1-magnitude quake struck a little more than one week ago. Peña Nieto immediately returned to Mexico City and urged residents to stay out of the streets to give access to first responders, and to shut off gas lines that before returning to their homes.

Mexico earthquake LIVE: Nearly 50 killed in month’s second powerful quake | Dev Goswami, India Today

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/mexico-earthquake-live-updates-20-09-2017/1/1051723.htmlThe quake hit Mexico just hours after many people participated in earthquake drills around the nation on the anniversary of the devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.

42 Dead In Mexico City Earthquake | Tim Pearce, The Daily Caller

http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/19/watch-earthquake-demolishes-mexico-city-buildings-42-confirmed-dead/At least forty-two people are confirmed dead after an earthquake rocked Mexico City Tuesday, just 12 days after the country suffered its strongest earthquake in a century.

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Guns and Crime

After 57 years, George Carroll’s remains have been found

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After 57 years, George Carroll's remains have been found

In 1961, George Carroll went missing on Long Island, New York. His remains were found buried beneath the basement of his home and is now at the center of a 57-year-old murder investigation.

The remains were found by Carroll’s son, Michael Carroll, who was an infant when his father disappeared. He was excavating the basement of the Lake Grove home on October 31 with his sons when the remains were found.

Police are treating it as a homicide.

The wife of the victim, Dorothy Carroll, died more than two decades ago. There were rumors among family members that the victim was buried under the house, but nobody looked there until this year, according to the son.

“It’s something that’s been talked about for years,” he said. “We heard multiple stories.”

This case will test the lengths in which modern forensic science can be used to solve old crimes. As cold cases go, a 57-year-old murder may be too cold to solve.

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In plea deal, Russian woman admits to being a secret agent

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In plea deal, Russian woman admits to being a secret agent

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian woman accused of being a secret agent admitted Thursday that she conspired to infiltrate the American gun-rights movement to gather intelligence on conservative political groups as Donald Trump rose to power.

Maria Butina, 30, agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

The case, which is separate from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has offered insight into how Moscow seeks to influence American policy.

Prosecutors say Butina and her Russian patron, Alexander Torshin, used their contacts in the National Rifle Association to pursue back channels to American conservatives during that campaign, when Republican Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Court documents detail how Butina saw the Republican Party as prime for Russian influence and courted conservatives through networking and contacts with the NRA. She posed for photos with prominent Republicans, including former presidential candidates, and snagged a picture with Donald Trump Jr. at a 2016 NRA dinner.

Butina’s case, brought by federal prosecutors in Washington, comes amid a broader push by the Justice Department to enforce U.S. laws governing foreign agents, including those accused of working for Russia.

As part of her deal, Butina pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent and she agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Prosecutors say it is “very likely” she will be deported from the U.S. after her sentence is completed. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, though the defense noted Thursday that federal sentencing guidelines recommend no time to six months. She has been jailed since her arrest in July.

According to her plea agreement, Butina’s work was directed by Torshin, a former longtime member of the Russian parliament who until recently was an official in Russia’s central bank. He is now under sanction by the Treasury Department for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Butina, dressed in green jail scrubs with her red hair pulled into a long ponytail, acknowledged she “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics.” She admitted that her boyfriend, conservative political operative Paul Erickson, helped her as she tried to use his ties with the NRA to set up the back channels. Erickson, who is referred to as “U.S. Person 1″ in court papers, has not been charged. His attorney said he is a good American who “has done nothing to harm our country and never would.”

In a 2015 proposal she crafted with Erickson’s help, Butina argued it was unlikely Russia would be able to exert influence using official channels and, as an alternative, suggested using back channel communications to build relationships with Republicans, according to court papers.

Pushing her travel to the U.S. and her work with the NRA as selling points, Butina argued that she had already “laid the groundwork for an unofficial channel of communication with the next U.S. administration.” She asked for $125,000 from an unnamed Russian billionaire to attend conferences in the U.S. and meet with people who she thought may have influence with the Republican Party and sent the proposal to Torshin. He responded by telling her the proposal would “be supported, at least in part,” according to court documents.

Torshin also asked Butina to help justify him attending a national NRA meeting in 2016 and Butina encouraged his attendance “partly because of the opportunity to meet political candidates,” according to her plea agreement. In addition to attending numerous NRA events, Butina also organized “friendship dinners” in Washington with influential political figures.

In their filings, prosecutors have said federal agents found Butina had contact information for people suspected of working for Russia’s Federal Security Services, or FSB, the successor intelligence agency to the KGB. Inside her home, they found notes referring to a potential job offer from the FSB, according to the documents.

Investigators recovered several emails and Twitter message conversations in which Butina referred to the need to keep her work secret and, in one instance, said it should be “incognito.” Prosecutors said Butina had contact with Russian intelligence officials and that the FBI photographed her dining with a diplomat suspected of being a Russian intelligence agent.

Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, had previously decried the charges against her as “overblown” and said prosecutors criminalized her mundane networking opportunities. He said Butina was a student interested in American politics and wanted to see a better relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

On Thursday, prosecutors also appeared to have backed off their assertion that Butina’s attendance at American University was little more than a cover to enter the U.S. In their filing, prosecutors said “all available evidence” indicated she had a genuine interest in a graduate school education.

Butina had mounted an aggressive defense and tried to have the charges against her tossed. But for several weeks, Butina’s lawyers and federal prosecutors had indicated in court papers that they were working toward a resolution in the case.

After Butina’s plea, a senior Russian lawmaker said he was convinced that Butina had caved and was pressured to confess. Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee, told Russian news agencies that the charges against Butina had been trumped up and that she fell victim to what he called “political inquisition.”

“They broke her down. Anyone would break down in circumstances like that,” he said, referring to Butina’s time in prison, which included being held in administrative segregation.

Butina told the judge on Thursday that she was pleading guilty of her own volition and was not pressured, threatened or coerced.

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Associated Press writer Chad Day contributed to this report.

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Read the plea agreement: http://apne.ws/qHA37wM

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Shooting near West Bank settlement kills at least 2 Israelis

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Shooting near West Bank settlement kills at least 2 Israelis

JERUSALEM (AP) — A shooting attack near a West Bank settlement on Thursday killed at least two Israelis and critically wounded another two, Israel’s rescue service said.

The deaths extend a violent week that began with a shooting outside a West Bank settlement on Sunday, resulting in the death of a baby who was delivered prematurely following the weekend attack, and continued with the killing of two Palestinians wanted in that and another attack on Israelis in the West Bank.

Eli Bin, the head of Israel’s Magen David Adom service, told Israeli Army Radio that two people were killed in the shooting, which occurred at a location about a ten-minute drive south from the place of Sunday’s attack. Their identities were not immediately known.

A later statement from the service said paramedics arrived at a bus stop to find four “youngsters” with gunshot wounds.

Israeli media reported that a passing car opened fire outside the settlement, but it was not clear if the gunmen had fled the scene or were stopped. The Israeli military had no additional information.

While the West Bank experiences occasional deadly violence, often between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters, much of the Israeli-Palestinian violence in recent months has been limited to the Gaza Strip, where some 175 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in border protests.

“In recent days, we definitely feel like the situation (in the West Bank) is getting worse,” Shalom Galil, a paramedic who assisted at the scene of the shooting, told Israeli Army Radio.

The shooting comes hours after Israeli security forces tracked down and killed a Palestinian accused of killing two Israelis.

Israeli police said Ashraf Naalweh was found armed near the West Bank city of Nablus and was killed during an arrest raid.

Israel accuses Naalweh of shooting to death two Israelis and wounding another at an attack on a West Bank industrial zone in October. He fled the scene and Israeli forces have been searching for him since.

“Israel’s long arm will reach anyone who harms Israeli citizens,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Police said it had made a number of arrests in its attempt to hunt down Naalweh and suspected he was planning on carrying out another attack.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed Salah Barghouti, a Palestinian suspect wanted in the drive-by shooting earlier this week at a West Bank bus stop.

In Sunday night’s attack, assailants in a Palestinian vehicle opened fire at a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement, wounding seven people, including a 21-year-old pregnant woman, before speeding away.

The militant Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip said that both Barghouti and Naalweh were its members but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks the two carried out.

“The flame of resistance in the (West) Bank will remain alive until the occupation is defeated on all our land,” Hamas said.

Also Thursday, police said an assailant stabbed two officers in Jerusalem’s Old City, wounding them lightly. The officers opened fire on the attacker and he was killed, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Police identified the man as a 26-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank. It released security camera footage that shows the man lunging toward the officers and appearing to stab them.

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