WASHINGTON — A Democratic group is releasing a new ad in the wake of the House passage of the American Health Care Act, targeting Senate Republicans over the controversial legislation.

The ad signals a change in focus for Democrats, who now will now pressure GOP senators to oppose a bill that, in an earlier form, drew only 17 percent support in one poll.

“Tell Senate Republicans: This is their mess now,” a narrator in the ad intones. “And we are watching.”

The ad comes from Bridge Project, a Democratic group that traditionally focuses on opposition research on Republican candidates.

Democrats view the AHCA as a central plank of their midterm election campaigns, believing that the bill’s deep unpopularity could harm the GOP with the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

—McClatchy Washington Bureau


Deputy fired for waving weapons, quoting Denzel Washington in ‘Training Day’

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Lake County, Fla., deputy sheriff has been fired for playfully waving his firearm and taser while quoting lines from Denzel Washington in “Training Day,” an action movie about a corrupt cop, the Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Deputy Dean Zipes, who was hired in December 2015, was fired April 21 for the incident and other allegations that Zipes twice pulled out his firearm in an office setting and once made a motion to draw his service weapon at a pizza delivery boy, joking that he was alleged Orlando cop-killer Markeith Loyd.

Zipes was quoting a profanity-laced scene in the 2001 movie about 4 a.m. Feb. 16 in which Washington’s character points two pistols at a rape suspect and rubs his weapons together in front of a police trainee, according to an internal-affairs report.

During the incident outside the sheriff’s Minneola substation at City Hall, 800 N. U.S. Highway 27, Zipes rubbed his taser and pistol together — also near a trainee — in the direction of nearby Kangaroo Express convenience store, the report said. Several other deputies were present, according to the report.

Zipes said he doesn’t know what “sparked” his actions that morning but was trying to be funny and was also on edge due to an armed robbery his sector responded to that night, the report said.

“I am not a rogue, reckless, dangerous, insane guy that slipped through the cracks at the hiring process and somehow got a gun and a badge,” he told investigators, adding that he’s “just a guy going through some stuff.”

—Orlando Sentinel


Class-action lawsuit filed in fatal Baltimore school bus crash

BALTIMORE — A class-action lawsuit seeking more than $10 million has been filed on behalf of the victims of a deadly bus crash that occurred last fall in Southwest Baltimore, alleging the driver was wrongly cleared to work despite previous crashes and health problems.

A school bus driven by Glenn Chappell, 67, rear-ended a Ford Mustang before crossing into oncoming traffic and striking a Maryland Transit Administration bus. The Nov. 1 crash killed the driver and four passengers on the MTA bus, as well as Chappell.

Another 11 people were injured, including passengers on the MTA bus, a teacher aide on the school bus and the driver of the Ford Mustang. No students were on the school bus at the time of the crash.

The lawsuit alleges that the health care company Concentra, which provides commercial driver certifications, “knew or should have known that Chappell had suffered multiple seizures in the past and had been involved in at least four crashes or incidents while operating a school bus or a personal vehicle where he had lost consciousness from a seizure when it cleared Chappell to drive commercial vehicles.”

Also named as defendants are AAAfordable Transportation, which employed Chappell, and its owners and operators, Tracy and Aliyu Dabo.

—The Baltimore Sun


UN worker kidnapped as Security Council visits Colombia

NEW YORK — The United Nations condemned the kidnapping of one of its workers in Colombia as the U.N. Security Council visited to celebrate the country’s peace deal Thursday.

The staffer, who was working for the U.N.’s drugs and crime team in the country, was abducted Wednesday by armed men in the Amazon region of Guaviare after talking to some farmers, a government source confirmed.

The government source said they expected the worker, a Colombian national, to be released quickly.

News of the kidnapping came as members of the U.N. Security Council met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and leaders from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to show support for the peace deal brokered last year.

British Ambassador to the U.N. Matthew Rycroft tweeted after the meeting: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Colombians. It is within your grasp. Seize it with both hands.”

The U.N. is supervising a disarmament process expected to conclude by June 1 that aims to demobilize an estimated 6,800 FARC guerrilla fighters.


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