WASHINGTON

DNA testing to check

for fraud at border

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin voluntary DNA testing in cases where officials suspect that adults are fraudulently claiming to be parents of children as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The decision comes as Homeland Security officials are increasingly concerned about instances of child trafficking as a growing number of Central American families cross the border, straining resources to the breaking point.

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Heroic action revealed

in college shooting

A North Carolina college student tackled a gunman who opened fire in his classroom, saving others' lives but losing his own in the process, police said Wednesday.

Riley Howell, 21, was among students gathered for end-of-year presentations in an anthropology class at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte when a man with a pistol began shooting. Howell and another student were killed; four others were wounded.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Howell "took the assailant off his feet," but was fatally wounded.

 

SACRAMENTO, CALIF.

Population growth

in state at record low

California had its slowest recorded growth rate in its history last year as the country's most populous state was hit by a slowdown in immigration and a sharp decline of births.

Estimates released Wednesday show California had 39.9 million people as of Jan. 1, adding nearly 187,000 people for a growth rate of 0.47% — the lowest since 1900, the earliest records available. And while thousands lost their homes after last year's deadly wildfire in the northern part of the state, initial estimates show most people shuffled to cities closest to the blaze.

 

TALLAHASSEE, FLA.

Lawmakers pass bill

to arm more teachers

More Florida classroom teachers could carry guns in school under a bill passed Wednesday by state lawmakers, the latest response to last year's mass shooting at a Parkland high school.

The Republican-led House voted 65-47 on Wednesday to send the bill to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it. The measure expands an existing school "guardian" program to allow any teacher to volunteer to carry a weapon if their local school district approves.

 

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIF.

Air Force test-launches 

Minuteman 3 missile

A fiery streak lit up the California sky as the U.S. Air Force conducted an early morning test of an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile.

The Air Force Global Strike Command said the missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles at 2:42 a.m. Wednesday.

The ICBM's re-entry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles over the Pacific to a target in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

 

AUGUSTA, MAINE

State bans single-use

foam food containers

Maine has banned single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam, becoming the first state to do so.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill, which takes effect in 2021, into law Tuesday.

Environmental groups have sought such bans amid rising public awareness of throwaway plastic that accumulates in the oceans, but the Natural Resources Council of Maine said that Maine is the first state to enact a ban.

 

LONDON

British defense chief

fired over Huawei leaks

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson was summarily fired Wednesday after an investigation into leaks from a secret government meeting about the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, but he denied any involvement in the case.

An investigation was launched last week after newspapers reported that Britain's National Security Council, which meets in private, had agreed to let Huawei participate in some aspects of Britain's new 5G wireless communications network.

The Conservative government insists that no decision has been made yet about Huawei.

 

NEW YORK

State providing free

phone calls from jails

New York is now providing free phone calls from jails, making it the first major U.S. city to eliminate fees for inmate calls, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

The Democratic mayor said the city has fully implemented the law passed by the city council last August. Inmates were previously charged 50 cents for the first minute of a phone call and 5 cents per additional minute.

 

 

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires