Prince fans file petition demanding federal grand jury probe into the musician’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — A group of Prince fans on Tuesday asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota to open a grand jury investigation into the rock star’s death.

Federal, state and county law enforcement officers spent almost two years investigating Prince’s accidental fatal overdose but were not able to trace the source of the painkiller that killed him in April 2016.

“We want justice to be served,” said Nicole Welage, one of more than a dozen Prince fans who pushed to petition for a federal grand jury investigation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined Tuesday to comment on the petition. Earlier this year, officials there said prosecutors found “no credible evidence” that would lead to federal criminal charges. The case is now considered inactive.

Welage said she and other fans poured through 214 pages of investigative documents along with the transcript of the 911 call made to authorities after Prince was found in his Paisley Park home. More answers are needed, she said.

The petition, signed by more than 6,000 Prince fans, suggests that a grand jury would be able to “properly investigate his death.” The fans also delivered their petition to local and state officials.

The person who supplied the drug to Prince needs to be held accountable and the “tarnishing” of Prince’s image stopped, Welage said.

— Star Tribune

Michael Jordan describes why Florence moved him to contribute $2M

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan thought about all the spots that made Wilmington home growing up and was moved to dramatic action.

“You gotta take care of home,” Jordan told The Charlotte Observer on Tuesday, in an exclusive interview about his decision to contribute $2 million to relief and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Jordan was raised in the coastal city of Wilmington before moving on to star at North Carolina and in the NBA. He said scenes of the destruction from rain and wind in both North and South Carolina had him flashing back to old haunts.

“Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to,” Jordan said. “And the deaths — it was so sad about the babies (that died, including one in Gaston County). You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow.”

Jordan’s contribution will be in the form of $1 million each to the American Red Cross and the Foundation for the Carolinas Florence Response Fund. The Red Cross is providing food and shelter to those displaced by the storm. The Foundation for the Carolinas directs funds to nonprofits in North and South Carolina.

Jordan told the Observer that two-pronged approach is intended to address not just the immediate impact of the storm but the long-term effects on those all over the Carolinas whose lives have been changed for the worse.

“People need to understand this will not be a week-long process. This is going to have a huge disruption on people’s lives — not for 10 days, but for years,” Jordan said.

Jordan aspires that his contribution can have a viral effect on others to donate money and effort, and not view this as a problem that will be solved in a matter of weeks.

“I hope people understand the importance of this and direct their attention to making things better,” Jordan said. “It’s going to take a lot of performance all over” the Carolinas.

— Charlotte Observer

U.S. orders Chinese media to register as foreign agents, source says

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has informed China’s Xinhua News Agency and China Global Television Network that they must register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The state-owned news agencies will be required to disclose information about their annual budget and expenditures, their ownership structure and other information under the act, which mandates registration with the Justice Department by organizations and individuals that attempt to influence U.S. policymakers or public opinion on behalf of foreign governments.

They also will have to include disclaimers on broadcasts and published materials identifying themselves as registered foreign agents, according to the person, who asked not to be identified in advance of a formal announcement. The move was reported earlier Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal.

The move echoes requirements imposed on Russian outlets in the wake of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Several U.S. contractors working with RT and Sputnik Radio were forced to register under the act. In May, the Justice Department also required a broadcaster based in Reston, Va., that carried English-language broadcasts of France 24, funded by the French government, to register.

Xinhua News Agency is the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China, and one of the largest news organizations in the world. China Global Television Network broadcasts in eight languages, including English.

— Bloomberg News

Feds fine contractors behind collapsed bridge for ‘serious’ worker safety violations

MIAMI — The contractors that designed and built the Florida International University bridge that collapsed in March have been cited by federal authorities for several “serious” safety violations and face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

The companies failed to provide workers with a proper safety line and did not remove workers from the area despite the bridge developing cracks of “significant width, depth and length at critical locations,” according to a series of citations issued Tuesday by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The FIU bridge collapsed March 15 while it was still under construction over Southwest Eighth Street, killing five motorists below and a worker, Navaro Brown, who had been standing atop the span. An additional five workers were seriously injured.

Footage of the accident captured the awful moment when the bridge fell. One worker, clearly visible, is seen briefly suspended in mid-air before tumbling toward the ground.

OSHA cited five companies for seven worker-safety violations, fining them a total of $86,658 in proposed penalties. The companies are designer FIGG Bridge Engineers; builder Munilla Construction Management; Bolton Perez & Associates, which provided engineering and inspection services; Structural Technologies, which specializes in post-tensioning work on bridges; and a concrete contractor, the Structural Group of South Florida. (That last company, based in Homestead, doesn’t appear to be connected in corporate records to Structural Technologies, a national firm.)

The companies have 15 business days to accept the citations, schedule a conference with OSHA or contest the findings, according to the agency.

— Miami Herald