News Headlines 3/17/21

EIGHT KILLED IN SHOOTINGS AT THREE GEORGIA MASSAGE PARLORS, SUSPECT APPREHENDED: Eight people were killed in shootings at three massage parlors in Georgia yesterday evening (March 16th), two of them in Atlanta and one in the suburb of Acworth. Many of the victims were women of Asian descent. The suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, was apprehended several hours later after a manhunt and car chase. The first attack took place around 5 p.m. at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor in Acworth, which is about 30 miles north of Atlanta. Five people were shot and four of them died. Just under an hour later, police responding to a robbery call found three women shot dead at Gold Spa in Atlanta. While there, police got a call about shots fired at another spa across the street, Aromatherapy Spa, and found a woman there who’d been killed. Long was seen on surveillance video driving up to the Acworth spa just before the shooting, according to authorities, who believe he’s also the suspect in the Atlanta killings, with video footage showing his vehicle also in the area of those spas around the time of the attacks. Authorities are still investigating the motive.

BIDEN TELLS MIGRANTS NOT TO CROSS THE BORDER, SAYS CUOMO SHOULD RESIGN IF SEX HARASS CLAIMS TRUE: Amid a surge of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border with Mexico, straining the U.S. facilities to hold them, President Biden sent a message to migrants who might try to do it not to come. Biden made the comments when asked about the issue during an ABC News interview yesterday (March 16th), saying, “I can say quite clearly, don’t come over… don’t leave your city, or town, or community.” Republicans have charged more people are coming because of Biden easing some of former President Donald Trump‘s border policies, but Biden dismissed that idea and said there were also surges at the border in the last two years.

Cuomo Allegations: Biden also was asked in the interview about the claims of sexual harassment that have been made by several women in recent weeks against New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. Biden said that if the state attorney general’s investigation confirms the claims against Cuomo, he should resign, and added, “I think he’d probably end up being prosecuted, too.” In the most serious of the allegations, a female staff member claims Cuomo groped her under her shirt late last year after summoning her to the governor’s mansion.

INTELLIGENCE REPORT: RUSSIA, IRAN CARRIED OUT OPERATIONS TO INFLUENCE NOVEMBER ELECTION: A report released Tuesday (March 16th) by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that Russia and Iran carried out operations that were designed to influence the November election. Russia tried to help then-President Donald Trump beat Joe Biden, with efforts that included using media organizations, U.S. officials and people close to Trump to smear Biden. The declassified intelligence assessment also found that Iran carried out operations to harm Trump’s re-election prospects and to undermine confidence in the election itself. Russia’s efforts also sought to undermine confidence in the election and to also exacerbate social divisions in the U.S. However, the report found that although both countries carried out broad efforts to influence the election, there was no evidence any foreign actor changed votes or disrupted the voting process. The intelligence report said China didn’t interfere on either side.

TWO KILLED IN FIREWORKS EXPLOSION IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Two people were killed yesterday (March 16th) when a large stash of what authorities believe to have been commercial-grade fireworks exploded in a home in the town of Ontario in southern California around midday. Windows were shattered in the residential neighborhood by the explosions, which sent up a huge plume of smoke. Ontario Fire Chief Ray Gayk said the two people who were killed appeared to have been inside or around the home. Three other people had minor injuries. Police Chief Mike Lorenz said they’d been called to the area in the past due to reports of fireworks being set off, which are illegal in Ontario.