At least 12 white supremacists have been arrested on allegations of plotting, threatening or carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. since the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue nearly one year ago, a Jewish civil rights group reported Sunday.

The Anti-Defamation League also counted at least 50 incidents in which white supremacists are accused of targeting Jewish institutions’ property since a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018. Those incidents include 12 cases of vandalism involving white supremacist symbols and 35 cases in which white supremacist propaganda was distributed.

The ADL said its nationwide count of anti-Semitic incidents remains near record levels. It has counted 780 anti-Semitic incidents in the first six months of 2019, compared to 785 incidents during the same period in 2018.

The ADL’s tally of 12 arrests for white supremacist plots, threats and attacks against Jewish institutions includes the April 2019 capture of John T. Earnest, who is charged with killing one person and wounding three others in a shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California. The group said many of the cases it counted, including the Poway shooting, were inspired by previous white supremist attacks. In online posts, Earnest said he was inspired by the deadly attacks in Pittsburgh and on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a gunman killed 51 people in March.

The ADL also counted three additional 2019 cases in which individuals were arrested for targeting Jews but weren’t deemed to be white supremacists. Two were motivated by Islamist extremist ideology, the organization said.

The ADL said its Center on Extremism provided “critical intelligence” to law enforcement in at least three of the 12 cases it counted.

Last December, authorities in Monroe, Washington, arrested a white supremacist after the ADL notified law enforcement about suspicions he threatened on Facebook to kill Jews in a synagogue. The ADL said it also helped authorities in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, identify a white supremacist accused of using aliases to post threatening messages, including a digital image of himself pointing an AR-15 rifle at a group of praying Jewish men.

In August, an FBI-led anti-terrorism task force arrested a Las Vegas man accused of plotting to firebomb a synagogue or other targets, including a bar catering to LGTBQ customers and the ADL’s Las Vegas office. The ADL said it warned law enforcement officials about the man’s online threats.

“We cannot and will not rest easy knowing the threat posed by white supremacists and other extremists against the Jewish community is clear and present,” the group’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement.

The ADL said it counted at least 30 additional incidents in which people with an “unknown ideology” targeted Jewish institutions with acts of arson, vandalism or propaganda distribution that the group deemed to be anti-Semitic or “generally hateful,” but not explicitly white supremacist.

“These incidents include the shooting of an elderly man outside a synagogue in Miami, fires set at multiple Jewish institutions in New York and Massachusetts, Molotov cocktails thrown at synagogue windows in Chicago, damaged menorahs in Georgia and New Jersey, as well as a wide range of anti-Semitic graffiti,” an ADL report said.

 


A committee guiding OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy has suggested other drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains use Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the national opioid crisis.

The committee of unsecured creditors said in a letter sent Sunday to the parties and obtained by The Associated Press that the country “is in the grips of a crisis that must be addressed, and that doing so may require creative approaches.”

It’s calling for all the companies to put money into a fund in exchange for having all their lawsuits resolved.

The committee includes victims of the opioid crisis plus a medical center, a health insurer, a prescription benefit management company, the manufacturer of an addiction treatment drug and a pension insurer. It says that the concept may not be feasible but invited further discussion. It does not give a size of contributions from the company.

The same committee has been aggressive in Purdue’s bankruptcy, saying it would support pausing litigation against members of the Sackler family who own Purdue in exchange for a $200 million fund from the company to help fight the opioid crisis.

Paul Hanly, a lead lawyer for local governments in the lawsuits, said in a text message Sunday evening that he’d heard about the mass settlement idea, calling it “most unlikely.”

The proposal comes as narrower talks have not resulted in a settlement. Opening statements are to be held Monday in the first federal trial over the crisis. The lawsuit deals with claims from the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit against a half-dozen companies. More than 2,000 other state and local governments plus Native American tribes, hospitals and other groups have made similar claims.

There have been talks aimed at settling all claims against the drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and Teva and the distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson ahead of the trial. One proposal called for resolving claims against them nationally in exchange for cash and addiction treatment drugs valued at a total of $48 billion over time.

The committee’s proposal went to those five companies plus nine others that face lawsuits.

Opioids, including both prescription painkillers and illegal drugs such as heroin and illicitly made fentanyl, have been linked to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000.


 The still popular former mayor of Baltimore and brother of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Thomas D’Alesandro III, died Sunday at 90.

The family said he had been suffering from complications from a stroke.

Pelosi, who is leading a congressional delegation in Jordan, issued a statement calling her brother “the finest public servant I have ever known…a leader of dignity, compassion, and extraordinary courage.”

D’Alesandro was known around Baltimore as “Young Tommy,” because his father, “Big Tommy,” was also mayor and a U.S. congressman.

“Young Tommy” was president of the Baltimore City Council and was elected mayor in 1967, leading Baltimore through four of the most tumultuous years in the city’s history. His challenges included a number of labor strikes that paralyzed city services, the push for urban renewal, and the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 from which Baltimore has never fully recovered.

D’Alesandro was also the first Baltimore mayor to appoint African-Americans to important city positions.

After deciding not to run for a second term in 1971, D’Alesandro went into private law practice and could still be seen dining in Italian restaurants and attending Baltimore Oriole baseball games until just before his death.

 


October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the U.S., and numerous events are organized throughout the country to attract attention to the seriousness and scale of the issue. In the nation’s capital, the best restaurant chefs gathered to cook and eat for a cause. Karina Bafradzhian has the story.
 


In a series of Tweets Saturday night, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was canceling plans to hold the next G-7 summit at a golf resort he owns in Miami, Florida.

Earlier this week the president had confirmed plans to hold the summit at the Trump National Doral.

Accused of using the presidency to enrich himself, it was a rare backtrack on Twitter Saturday night.

He blamed the media and Democrats for opposing the Doral site.

Trump tweeted “I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders. It is big, grand, on hundreds of acres, next to MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, has tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms, and each delegation would have its own 50 to 70 unit building. Would set up better than other alternatives. I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”

Some members of Trumps own party had also criticized the plan.

Trump tweeted that other U.S. sites for the 2020 summit will be considered, possibly including Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.


A plan to use explosives to topple two giant cranes leaning precariously over a partially collapsed hotel has been delayed until Sunday, city officials said after determining the cranes were more damaged than previously thought.

Officials said a demolition that had been planned Saturday will now take place no earlier than noon Sunday. Fire Chief Tim McConnell said the latest delay was caused by the new assessment of the cranes.

“As they got up and got closer they found out some things about it that have changed the way they are going to take it down … and that’s going to take a little longer for them to accomplish,” he said at a news conference. “The cranes are more damaged than they thought.”

Workers in a bucket hoisted by a crane begin the process of preparing the two unstable cranes for implosion at the collapse site of the Hard Rock Hotel, which partially collapsed while under construction, Oct. 12, 2019, in New Orleans.

Hard Rock Hotel collapses

The Hard Rock Hotel under construction at the edge of the historic French Quarter partially collapsed Oct. 12, killing three workers. Two bodies remain in the unstable wreckage and Mayor LaToya Cantrell said recovering the remains would be a priority once the cranes are down.

The two cranes, one tower rising about 270 feet (82 meters) above the rubble and the other about 300 feet (91 meters) high, weigh tons and have loomed over the crumpled hotel since it collapsed.

If the demolition plans succeed, the towers will drop vertically, sparing neighboring landmark buildings such as the Saenger Theatre and the New Orleans Athletic Club, both built in the 1920s.

Officials said Saturday that they would give residents who needed to evacuate four hours’ notice ahead of the planned demolition. Cantrell also said she would not authorize the use of explosives during the night.

Officials have repeatedly said they are adjusting plans as necessary, based on the information they are getting from experts brought in to help devise a plan to remove the cranes.

“We’ve told you that this is a very dangerous building. The cranes are still in a precarious situation,” McConnell, the fire chief, said. He said at least one of the cranes was leaning more Saturday morning than it was the day before.

“It shifted and didn’t come back, which tells me it’s weakening,” he said.

Demolition experts

On Saturday, workers suspended in a basket held by a crane could be seen high over the wreckage, working on the cranes. Down below, streets in one of the busiest parts of town had been closed off and tents set up in the center of Canal Street where the city’s famous red street cars usually roll back and forth.

Dozens of tourists, employees and residents were milling around nearby, taking photos. But officials have said repeatedly that they do not want people to come to the area to watch the demolition in person.

Experts, including engineers who worked on demolitions after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, were called in to try to come up with a plan to clear the site and prevent further injury and damage before the cranes fell on their own.

Once planned for Friday, the demolition was first pushed back to Saturday.

The cause of the collapse remains unknown. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating and, Cantrell and McConnell said, evidence gathering began soon after the collapse.

Lawsuits are already being filed on behalf of some of the more than 20 people injured against the project’s owners and contractors.


Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda said Friday that she is returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.

Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday at the U.S. Capitol on charges of unlawful demonstration by what she called “extremely nice and professional” police. Fellow actor Sam Waterston was also in the group, which included many older demonstrators.

Now 81, Fonda said she plans to get arrested every Friday to advocate for urgent reduction in the use of fossil fuels. She hopes to encourage other older people to protest as well.

Arrests in 2019 not like the 1970s

Getting arrested in 2019, poses some entirely new challenges, Fonda told The Associated Press in an interview.

These days, “they use white plastic things on your wrists instead of metal handcuffs, and that hurts more,” she said.

“The only problem for me is I’m old,” Fonda said. After her first arrest last week, she had trouble getting into the police vehicle because she was handcuffed behind her back and “had nothing to hang on to.”

On Friday, Fonda emerged from a cluster of officers and stepped smartly into the police wagon, her hands cuffed in front of her.

“Thanks, Jane!” some of the protesters called out.

“What would you tell President Trump?” someone in the crowd yelled to her earlier, as she and other protesters stood on their platform in front of the Capitol.

“I wouldn’t waste my breath,” she shouted back, drawing laughter.

Actress Jane Fonda, center, gives fellow activist a high five after they were arrested during a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 18, 2019.

Target audience: people like her

The rally drew at least a couple of hundred people, young and old.

While Fonda has taken part in many climate demonstrations, she said Greta Thunberg’s mobilization of international student strikes and other activism, along with the climate writing of author Naomi Klein, prompted her to return to courting arrests for a cause.

Fonda cannot remember precisely which cause led to her last arrest in the 1970s.

She said her target audience now is people like her who try to cut their plastic use and drive fuel-efficient cars, for instance, but otherwise “don’t know what to do and they feel helpless,” she said. “We’re trying to encourage people to become more active, across the age spectrum.”

Young people driving change

Especially in the U.S., young people appear to be driving many of the protests and rallies demanding government action on climate change, University of Maryland sociologist Dana Fisher said.

Nearly half of the people who turned out for a September climate protest in Washington were college age or younger, and a quarter were 17 or younger, for instance, Fisher said. Most were female.

On the other hand, it was older, white females who turned out for earlier protests during the Trump administration, like the women’s marches, Fisher noted.

“There’s a whole group of very activated, middle-age white women. They woke up after the election, and they haven’t gone back to bed,” Fisher said.

So far, those people have not been involved in the youth climate movement. Fonda’s efforts could “get them out there,” Fisher said.

If her efforts misfire, Fisher added, the older people risk making the movement look uncool.

Asked how she would answer any young climate activist who complained of being co-opted, Fonda said, “I would hug them.”

And she did just that with some of the teenagers and other young activists she invited up to the stage to speak.

Praise from young, old

“It’s a good thing that Jane is doing, to try to shift the paradigm so it’s not just falling on young people” to rally the public on fossil fuel emissions, said Joe Markus, a 19-year-old Washington-area student attending Friday’s protest.

Leslie Wharton, 63, from Bethesda, Maryland, sat out the Vietnam War protests that drew out Fonda. She came out Friday as part of a group calling itself Elders Climate Action.

Lots of people of all ages are worried about climate change and want to do something, Wharton said, but “us elders are retired or part-time. We can take the time.”
 


New York City is an incredible collection of diversity. People from around the world come to live and work here, but that doesn’t mean that racism isn’t a problem. That’s why the NYC Commission on Human Rights backed a law that can impose a hefty fine on people who use the term “Illegal Alien” in a hateful way. Nina Vishneva has this story narrated by Anna Rice.