4 California white nationalists arrested in connection with deadly Charlottesville rally

ATLANTA — Four militant white nationalists from California were arrested by federal authorities Tuesday on charges that they traveled to Virginia with the intent to incite a riot and commit violence at last year’s deadly far-right rallies in Charlottesville.

Thomas Cullen, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, announced that charges had been filed against Benjamin Drake Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach; Thomas Walter Gillen, 34, of Redondo Beach; Michael Paul Miselis, 29, of Lawndale; and Cole Evan White, 24, of Clayton.

The four are all members of the so-called Rise Above Movement, a white supremacist group based in Southern California that espouses anti-Semitism, promotes “clean living” and meets regularly in public parks to train in physical fitness, boxing and other street fighting techniques, according to the affidavit.

Last August, the four California men traveled to Charlottesville, the affidavit says, to join hundreds of other white nationalists at a rally organized by Richard Spencer, the leader of a white supremacist think tank, to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The defendants came to the rally prepared to engage in physical violence, having taped their fists “in the manner of boxers or MMA style fighters,” the affidavit says. Photographic and video evidence, the affidavit alleges, shows Daley and other white nationalists from California punching, kicking and head-butting counterprotesters, including an African-American man, two females and a minister wearing a clerical collar.

— Los Angeles Times

2 more deaths in N.C. are blamed on Florence, bringing the total to 50 across 3 states

RALEIGH, N.C. — More than two weeks after Hurricane Florence came ashore along the coast of North Carolina, the death toll from the storm continues to rise.

State officials now say 39 people have died as a result of Florence, with the addition of two deaths attributed to the storm on Tuesday. Both men were killed from falls while cleaning up after the storm.

A 47-year-old man was found dead from a head injury outside a home in Duplin County on Sept. 21. The man apparently fell from a ladder while repairing storm damage, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said Tuesday.

The following day, a 69-year-old man died after falling from a roof in Pender County.

Cooper’s office did not release additional details, including the names of the men.

Hurricane Florence is now thought to have killed 50 people, including 9 in South Carolina and two in Virginia.

— Raleigh News & Observer

President Trump, Eric Trump reportedly coordinated with Cohen in effort to keep Stormy Daniels quiet

President Donald Trump personally guided efforts in February to keep Stormy Daniels from talking about their alleged 2006 tryst — and his son Eric was enlisted to help in the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Trump allegedly instructed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen in a phone call to seek a restraining order against the adult film star.

Cohen coordinated with Trump’s son Eric — who’s been running Trump Organization with his brother Donald Trump Jr. — who then assigned a staff attorney to help with arbitration paperwork, sources told the Journal.

Trump has previously denied sleeping with Daniels and has tried to distance himself from Cohen’s efforts to keep her quiet.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight criminal charges, including two campaign finance violations related to a pre-election $130,000 payment he made to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Daniels signed a nondisclosure agreement drafted by Cohen in October 2016.

Cohen said in court that he made the payments at Trump’s direction.

But as Daniels considered taking her story public early this year, Cohen on Feb. 27 obtained a temporary restraining order.

The president was heavily involved in the February push to keep Daniels from going public as Cohen, Eric Trump and other Trump Organization attorneys worked together, which counters official statements from the company, the White House, the president and Cohen, according to The Journal.

— New York Daily News

2 13-year-olds carjack Florida teacher at gunpoint, cops say

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — If it wasn’t so troubling, it would almost be comical: a carjacking that goes sour because of bad driving.

But the accused are two boys, both 13, and one of them brandished a handgun, according to police.

It was shortly after 5 p.m. on Sept. 25 when a teacher, a 59-year-old woman, was walking toward her car in the teacher’s parking lot at Biscayne Gardens Elementary School, and one of the teens pointed a gun at her and demanded her car keys, Miami-Dade police said.

In surveillance video released Tuesday — one day after the two boys were arrested — the teacher can be seen hurrying away after being surprised by the gun-wielding teen. After he gets into the driver’s seat, the second teen runs up to the dark blue Toyota sedan and gets into the passenger’s seat.

While backing out of the parking space, the car bucks — as if its brakes were still engaged. Eventually it drives away, but not for long.

“While exiting the parking lot, the vehicle crashed into a curb causing the vehicle to become disabled,” an officer wrote in the arrest reports for the two boys.

The teacher saw the two get out of the car and run away, police said.

Eventually, police were able to determine the identities of the teens and the teacher was able to identify them in a “photo array,” the arrest reports said.

Both were arrested Monday and charged with armed carjacking.

— Sun Sentinel

Minnesota now offers ‘X’ for gender option on driver’s licenses

MINNEAPOLIS — There is now a third gender option for Minnesotans applying for a new or renewed driver’s license.

Listed along with “M” and “F” is “X” for any applicant who does not want to identify as male or female.

The unannounced change started Monday and was made on the first day the state began accepting applications for Real ID, the fortified driver’s licenses required by the federal government in the aftermath of 9/11.

A statement issued at the end of the business day Monday from the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) division explained that applicants need not provide any documentation if they want to have an X mark that gender spot on their license.

“Gender identification is a self-descriptor like eye color, height and weight,” read the statement, sent in response to questions from the Star Tribune.

It’s unclear whether further documentation is needed for acceptance of a nonbinary designation. The DVS website still includes that “medical certification of … gender transition” from a licensed physician must also be presented at the time of application. The new gender choice also is available on applications for state ID cards.

The agency statement added that this “was a business decision to offer a third option to better serve all Minnesotans.”

— Minneapolis Star Tribune

Iraq gets new president, prime minister-designate months after voting

BAGHDAD — Kurdish politician Barham Saleh was named the new president of Iraq by lawmakers on Tuesday, and quickly tasked Shiite Adel Abdel Mahdi with forming a new government.

However, no matter how speedy the action was Tuesday, it could not disguise the fact that it was nearly five months since the parliamentary election.

Saleh, of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, received 219 of 277 votes, beating out his opponent, Fuad Hussein of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, who got 22 votes, in the second round of the election.

Political tradition dictates that a Kurdish politician serve in the ceremonial post of president. The role of parliament speaker is traditionally performed by a Sunni Muslim, and the prime minister is a Shiite.

Under Iraq’s constitution, the prime minister-designate has 30 days to present his Cabinet to parliament.

Tuesday’s vote to choose the president was characterized by confusion, after the deputies of the Kurdistan Democratic Party announced the withdrawal of their nominee from the second round. In the first round, Neither Saleh nor Hussein secured the required two-thirds of votes.

Lawmakers rejected the withdrawal of Hussein and ordered a second round with a simple majority between the two candidates.

— dpa