Senate strikes deal to vote on stalled 9/11 Compensation Bill

WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote next week on a House-passed bill to extend a fund to help first responders and other victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“We’re finally, finally able to tell them you won’t have to come back again,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Thursday. The vote will be held Tuesday, he and fellow New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said.

The House last week passed a bill, H.R. 1327, to extend the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund used to pay claims by those harmed by the attack and the subsequent cleanup effort. The fund would be extended through at least fiscal 2092. Congress had previously provided $4.6 billion in fiscal 2017.

On Wednesday, a Senate vote was blocked by Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is seeking to offset the money with cuts elsewhere, and Mike Lee of Utah, who wants a shorter extension of the fund. Both will get a vote on their amendments, which are expected to fail.

Jon Stewart, the former host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and a supporter of first responders, has lobbied members of Congress to pass the bill.

— Bloomberg News

Philadelphia Police Department to fire 13 officers over offensive Facebook posts

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross announced Thursday that 13 officers would be fired for making racist or offensive Facebook posts, an unprecedented wave of terminations resulting from a scandal that has attracted national attention.

Speaking alongside Mayor Jim Kenney at a news conference at Police Headquarters, Ross said that in addition to the firings — the largest number of officers dismissed at one time in recent city history — another 56 cops would face disciplinary outcomes ranging from a reprimand to a 30-day unpaid suspension.

“I continue to be very angered and disappointed by these posts, many of which, in my view, violate the basic tenets of human decency,” Ross said, adding that the department must “move past this ridiculous hate that just consumes this country and has done so for centuries.”

The disciplinary outcomes represented the most significant response yet to last month’s publication of the Plain View Project, a database compiled by advocates that catalogs Facebook posts allegedly made by officers in Philadelphia and seven other jurisdictions across the country.

— Philadelphia Inquirer

Mother, daughter charged in killing of baby cut from womb of slain teen

CHICAGO — A mother and daughter accused of killing a pregnant teen have also been charged in the death of the woman’s baby after allegedly cutting the unborn son from her womb.

Cook County prosecutors allege that Clarisa and Desiree Figueroa lured Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, to their Southwest Side home in April, strangled her and then claimed the baby was Clarisa’s after cutting him from Ochoa-Lopez’s womb.

The boy, Yovanny Jadiel Lopez, died June 14.

Before the child’s death, the Figueroas were charged with aggravated battery because of his severe injuries, but they now also face first-degree murder charges for the baby’s killing. The aggravated battery charge will likely be dropped later.

Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and Desiree, 24, appeared Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on the new charges. The pair had already been ordered held without bail — a decision Judge Mary Marubio reiterated on Thursday.

— Chicago Tribune

Targeting young voters, Japan’s Abe takes to Instagram

TOKYO — As Japan prepares for an upper house election, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to have taken a page from social media giants such as President Donald Trump and stepped up his influencer game.

Unlike Trump, who favors Twitter, Abe’s format of choice has been Instagram — and his target is the young voters who flock to the platform. Abe and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party are trying to grab their attention with slickly produced videos of him on the campaign trail ahead of Sunday’s vote, including posts of the leader meeting constituents and even enjoying local delicacies.

Abe isn’t a total beginner when it comes to digital platforms, having been active on other social media sites including Facebook and Twitter even before his return to power in 2012. But this is his first time using Instagram as he campaigns in a national election. The move gives him the ability to reach millions of young voters — more than 50% of Japanese citizens in their 20s use the image-driven platform, which is owned by Facebook Inc., according to a study by the Ministry of Communications.

“We think about the youth as liberal and critical power, but that’s not exactly how it is in Japan,” said Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University in Tokyo. “The LDP has gotten increasingly confident on its appeal to the youth.”

— Bloomberg News