News briefs

Tribune Content Agency

Harlan Crow rebuffs Democrats’ questions about gifts to Thomas

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are stepping up their attempts to pry information from Harlan Crow about the luxury travel and other gifts he’s given Justice Clarence Thomas over the years, while the Dallas real estate magnate sticks to his position that it’s none of their business.

Through his attorney, Crow accused the senators of pursuing a partisan agenda and lectured them on the proper separation of powers.

That didn’t go over well with Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

It’s a “dangerous, undemocratic argument” to say any individual can hide information from Congress by asserting it’s in the best interest of the Supreme Court to do so, they said Tuesday in a sharp public response.

The senators have sought information from Crow as they press for the nation’s highest court to adopt a code of ethics like the one binding lower federal courts.

—The Dallas Morning News

Exchange of gunfire leaves Denver policeman injured, suspect dead

DENVER — A man was killed and a veteran Denver police officer suffered multiple wounds after exchanging gunshots early Wednesday outside a hotel in northwest Denver, according to Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas, who praised the officer and said an investigation of this confrontation has begun.

The policeman was taken to the Denver Health Medical Center emergency room for treatment of the gunshot wounds, which were classified as not life-threatening.

The man, identified by police officials in a posting on Twitter as a “suspect,” also was taken to that emergency room, where he died.

The shooting happened around 4 a.m. outside a hotel on North Zuni Street.

At least three bullets struck the policeman. “All of the shots were stopped by the bulletproof vest he was wearing,” Thomas said. “He is just fine, recovering in the hospital with his family by his side. He is in some significant discomfort.”

—The Denver Post

Wash. planning commissioner resigns over anti-LGBTQ+ comments

SEATTLE — A Sammamish planning commissioner who said LGBTQ+ people are “poisoning our kids,” among other statements, has resigned amid condemnation from the city and residents.

Wassim Fayed said in comments that drew fire after a Thursday meeting that LGBTQ+ people “spread diseases” and “are not a minority people who are disenfranchised.” His roughly six-minute-long remarks, he said, were in response to diversity training the commission had received.

Fayed resigned Monday from his appointed position.

City officials and residents denounced the comments Tuesday at the City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting, following the city’s strong rebuke issued Monday as Fayed’s remarks continued to circulate on social media.

Mayor Kali Clark, the city’s first out LGBTQ+ council member and mayor, said she felt empowered by the solidarity and outpouring of support from the community.

“To our youth, hate has no place here. To all of our residents, our city staff, leadership and our volunteers, hate has no place here,” she said.

—The Seattle Times

Dozens of US-bound passengers in Russia after emergency landing

A plane bound for San Francisco was forced to make an emergency landing in Siberia due to engine issues, leaving passengers stranded in Russia and thousands of miles from their destination.

Air India Flight 173 lifted off from New Delhi on Tuesday evening and quickly “developed a technical issue with one of its engines,” the airline said in a statement on Wednesday. The plane, a Boeing 777 with 216 passengers and 16 crew members onboard, was diverted to the port town of Magadan, where it was able to land safely.

“Given the infrastructural limitations around the remote airport, we can confirm that all passengers were eventually moved to a makeshift accommodation, after making sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in hotels locally with the help of local governments and authorities,” Air India said.

The airline noted that it does not have any staff based in the area, adding that “all ground support being provided to the passengers is the best possible in this unusual circumstance.”

A ferry flight from Mumbai to Magadan took off Wednesday morning and is expected to arrive in the area on Thursday around 6:30 a.m. local time.

Sharing video of the replacement plane leaving the airport, Air India said a team was onboard the flight to “provide any support that the passengers and staff at GDX may require.”

It’s not clear how many U.S. citizens were aboard the flight.

—New York Daily News