News Shorts, Weather and Sports for Friday, December 22, 2017

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Weather for Friday December 22, 2017 – Early Morning Fog


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led Congress narrowly passed a temporary spending bill to avert a government shutdown, doing the bare minimum in a sprint toward the holidays and punting disputes on immigration, health care and the budget to next year.

The measure passed the House on Thursday on a 231-188 vote over Democratic opposition and then cleared the Senate, 66-32, with Democrats from Republican-leaning states providing many of the key votes. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure Friday.


PARIS (AP) — Russian television anchor Pavel Lobkov was in the studio getting ready for his show when jarring news flashed across his phone: Some of his most intimate messages had just been published to the web.

Days earlier, the veteran journalist had come out live on air as HIV-positive, a taboo-breaking revelation that drew responses from hundreds of Russians fighting their own lonely struggles with the virus. Now he’d been hacked.

“These were very personal messages,” Lobkov said in a recent interview, describing a frantic call to his lawyer in an abortive effort to stop the spread of nearly 300 pages of Facebook correspondence, including sexually explicit messages. Even two years later, he said, “it’s a very traumatic story.”

The Associated Press found that Lobkov was targeted by the hacking group known as Fancy Bear in March 2015, nine months before his messages were leaked. He was one of at least 200 journalists, publishers and bloggers targeted by the group as early as mid-2014 and as recently as a few months ago.

The AP identified journalists as the third-largest group on a hacking hit list obtained from cybersecurity firm Secureworks, after diplomatic personnel and U.S. Democrats. About 50 of the journalists worked at The New York Times. Another 50 were either foreign correspondents based in Moscow or Russian reporters like Lobkov who worked for independent news outlets. Others were prominent media figures in Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltics or Washington.

The list of journalists provides new evidence for the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Fancy Bear acted on behalf of the Russian government when it intervened in the U.S. presidential election. Spy agencies say the hackers were working to help Republican Donald Trump. The Russian government has denied interfering in the American election.


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday to denounce President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, largely ignoring Trump’s threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him.

The nonbinding resolution declaring U.S. action on Jerusalem “null and void” was approved 128-9 — a victory for the Palestinians, but not as big as they predicted. Amid Washington’s threats, 35 of the 193 U.N. member nations abstained and 21 were absent.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Symphonies in Boston, San Francisco and Sydney have severed ties with world-renowned conductor Charles Dutoit. Classical orchestras in New York, Chicago and Cleveland have announced that he’s withdrawn his services for upcoming concerts. The reaction has been swift in the classical music world following graphic sexual assault accusations made by three opera singers and a classical musician to The Associated Press.

As symphonies around the globe reacted to the detailed accounts, accusations surfaced about Dutoit’s decades-long reputation for inappropriate behavior.


(BBC Spain) Catalonia’s ousted separatist leader, Carles Puigdemont, has declared that the Spanish state has been defeated in a snap regional election.

Speaking in Brussels where he is in self-imposed exile, Mr Puigdemont hailed the result as a victory for the “Catalan republic”.

Separatist parties will hold a slim, reduced, majority in the new assembly.

However the Citizens party, which wants Catalonia to remain a semi-autonomous part of Spain, is the biggest party.

As a result, it is unclear who will be given the right to form a government.

The Spanish government imposed direct rule on Catalonia and called the election after declaring an October independence referendum illegal.


(NWI Times EAST CHICAGO) — A 15-year-old teenage girl first reported missing earlier this week has been found dead, authorities said.

Alicia K. Casares was pronounced dead at 3:50 p.m. Thursday at her home in the 600 block of West 151st Street in East Chicago, according to a Lake County coroner’s news release.

The 15-year-old’s manner and cause of death are pending.

In a news release Thursday night, East Chicago police said they were dispatched about 2:40 p.m. to the home, where they were met with a family member, who said they found Casares unresponsive in an upstairs bedroom.

Police said they could not confirm an official cause of death Thursday night, adding that they are considering this a death investigation.

Casares was first reported missing Monday by her mother, East Chicago police said earlier this week. The mother told police she last saw her daughter Sunday night.

Juanita Pena, of East Chicago, told The Times her daughter was Casares’ friend through school. Pena said she and others had been actively looking for the missing teen.


(NWI Times HAMMOND) — Police have secured felony charges against a Highland man after a vehicle search turned up a painted toy gun, sunglasses, gloves and a note that read, “Remain calm. I have a gun. Open the register and put the cash in the bag. Stay silent!”

Jordan Ray Ravesloot, 25, is accused of robbing at gunpoint the KFC at 2733 169th St., in Hammond, on Dec. 9, court records show. He also is accused of attempting to rob the Burger King, 1817 Indianapolis Blvd., in Hammond, at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 12 and a nearby Subway hours later.

Police said Ravesloot was in custody Thursday. He faces two robbery charges and one attempted robbery charge, all level 5 felonies, according to an affidavit filed Thursday in Lake Criminal Court.

Ravesloot allegedly walked into the KFC wearing a facial cover, handed a cashier a note telling her to remain calm while displaying a “brown handled chrome revolver” tucked in his waistband. After getting the money, he fled the store westbound.

On Dec. 12, Ravesloot allegedly tried to rob a Burger King in a similar fashion but was told by the cashier working she could not open the safe without her manager’s thumb print. The cashier fled the store out the back and he followed.


(NWI Times CROWN POINT) — A man charged with shooting a resident during a Hammond burglary was released from jail Thursday without bond.

Cordell Hall, 30, was scheduled to appear at trial beginning Jan. 8 on allegations he and a co-defendant, Markest L. Hunter, shot a man in the chest and battered his wife during a home burglary in January.

The trial date was vacated Thursday by Judge Diane Boswell, who also ordered Hall’s release without requiring he post a $100,000 surety bond.

The judge initially declined to release Hall without bond, noting he was extradited from Iowa in September, but agreed to the bond reduction after a discussion with attorneys at the bench.

Hall told the judge he would live in the Hessville neighborhood of Hammond. He said he worked two jobs, in construction and as a butcher, to support six children.

Hall is charged in Lake Criminal Court with four counts of attempted robbery, two counts of burglary and three counts of felony battery.


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