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April 30, 2021

A stampede broke out early Friday at a Jewish bonfire festival at the foot of Mount Meron in northern Israel, killing dozens of mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and sending about 150 more to hospitals. An estimated 100,000 people had packed into the Galilee tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 2nd century sage and mystic, for the annual Lag B'Omer festival. It isn't clear yet what sparked the stampede. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "heavy disaster" and tweeted that he's "praying for the wellbeing of the casualties."

Reports varied on the number fatalities, from nearly 40 to at least 44, and witnesses told Israel's Channel 12 that children are among the dead. The incident ranks among the deadliest civilian casualty events in Israeli history, alongside a 2010 forest fire, The Associated Press reports. The Lag B'Omer celebration was the largest public gathering since Israel lifted COVID-19 restrictions, and the government had allowed it to go on despite warnings from public health officials. Eli Beer, director of the Hatzalah rescue service, said the site could safely handle only about a quarter of the crowd gathered Friday. Peter Weber

April 12, 2021

For the second night in a row, hundreds of people are protesting the officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was shot and killed Sunday afternoon during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Brooklyn Center is a suburb of Minneapolis, and about 10 miles away from the courthouse where the Derek Chauvin trial is being conducted. On Monday morning, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said it appears the officer who shot Wright intended to fire a Taser, but accidentally grabbed her gun. Demonstrators have been stationed outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters all day, and a fence and concrete barriers have been put up; there are also members of the Minnesota State Patrol and Minnesota National Guard on site.

As night fell, protesters began chanting and banging drums, ignoring a 7 p.m. curfew put in effect by Gov. Tim Walz (D). NBC News reports there have been projectiles and tear gas fired into the air, and there are people looting a Dollar Store across the street from the police department.

Earlier in the evening, at least 300 people attended a vigil for Wright, the Star Tribune reports, and his mother, Katie Wright, addressed the crowd. "I just need everyone to know that he was my life," she said. "He was my son. And I can never get that back. Because of a mistake? Because of an accident?" Catherine Garcia

April 12, 2021

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday night to protest the fatal officer-involved shooting of a Black man earlier in the day during a traffic stop.

The motorist was identified by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) and relatives as 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters, people chanted Wright's name, and some covered the building's sign with graffiti. Officers in riot gear fired a chemical irritant and rubber bullets at the crowd, hitting at least two people and leaving one bleeding from the head, a witness told Reuters. Several people were also seen looting at a nearby Walmart and shopping mall, the Star Tribune reports, and National Guard troops — already in Minneapolis for the Derek Chauvin trial — were dispatched.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department released a statement saying a motorist was pulled over shortly before 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon for a traffic violation. The officers found that the driver had an outstanding arrest warrant, the police department said, and while trying to arrest him, the man got back into his car. One of the officers then shot the motorist, who died after driving several blocks and hitting another vehicle. The department said the officers involved were wearing body cameras that captured the incident.

Wright's mother, Katie Wright, told reporters her son called to let her know he was being pulled over for having air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror, which is illegal in Minnesota, Reuters reports.

Brooklyn Center is a Minneapolis suburb, about 10 miles from where George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, was killed last May while being arrested. Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, is now on trial, charged with murder and manslaughter for kneeling on Floyd's neck while he was on the ground and handcuffed. Catherine Garcia

April 8, 2021

A gunman opened fired at a cabinet-making business in Bryan, Texas, on Thursday afternoon, killing one person and injuring five others.

Four of the victims have been hospitalized in critical condition, Bryan Police Department Chief Eric Buske said, and one is in non-critical condition. Police said a possible suspect fled the scene before officers arrived at the business, but has since been captured. This person is an employee of the company, ABC News reports. Catherine Garcia

April 1, 2021

Four people, including a child, were shot and killed on Wednesday evening at an office complex in Orange, California. A fifth person was injured and their condition is unknown.

When police officers arrived at the scene, they exchanged gunfire with the shooter, who was hit, the Los Angeles Times reports. The shooter is at a local hospital in unknown condition. Law enforcement is not aware of any motive for the attack.

This is the third mass shooting to take place in the United States in two weeks, the Times reports, after the attacks at three Asian spas in the metro Atlanta area and a supermarket in Boulder. Orange is "usually quiet," Orange Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Jennifer Amat said, and the city hasn't experienced a situation of this kind "since the 1997 Caltrans shooting," when a former employee shot and killed four people at a state maintenance yard. The gunman was killed in a shootout with police.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), whose district includes parts of Orange, tweeted that she is "deeply saddened by reports of a mass shooting in Orange County, and I'm continuing to keep victims and their loved ones in my thoughts as we continue to learn more." Catherine Garcia

March 16, 2021

Eight people were killed on Tuesday in three separate shootings at spas in the metro Atlanta area.

A suspect in one of the shootings, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, is in custody, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office said. That shooting occurred at Young's Asian Massage Parlor near Acworth, and left four people dead and one injured. Police said Long was arrested in Crisp County, 150 miles south of Atlanta.

The other two shootings took place at spas in northeast Atlanta. Police first responded to a robbery call at Gold Spa, and found three women dead inside. While there, officers received a call to investigate a shooting at Aromatherapy Spa across the street, where they discovered another woman shot to death.

The shootings all occurred at spas where the majority of employees are Asian, and officials said they are investigating whether they are linked. Law enforcement officers have been sent to check in on other spas and massage parlors in the area. Catherine Garcia

March 2, 2021

The White House announced on Tuesday evening it withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

In a statement, President Biden said he accepted Tanden's request to have her name withdrawn, adding that he has "the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience, and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work."

The White House also released a letter from Tanden, who wrote that she appreciated Biden's support, but it "now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities."

Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, faced criticism from Republican senators who accused her of having made "thousands of negative public statements" about people like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). After Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced last month that he would not be backing Tanden, she needed the support of at least one Republican in order to win confirmation. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she was considering whether to vote for Tanden, and on Tuesday told reporters she was still undecided. Catherine Garcia

January 1, 2021

The Senate voted 81-13 on Friday to override President Trump's veto of the $741 billion defense authorization bill.

This is Congress' first veto override of Trump's presidency, which is now in its final days.

Earlier in the week, the House voted to back the legislation. It authorizes pay raises for service members and imposes new limits on how much of the military's construction budget the president can move by emergency order.

Trump said he vetoed the measure because he did not like how it restricts the president's ability to draw down troop levels, as well as the fact that it directs the Pentagon to strip the names of Confederate figures from U.S. military installations. Trump also wanted the legislation to include a repeal of liability protections for tech companies, a completely unrelated issue. Catherine Garcia

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