Review Category : Top Stories

Federal Judge Backs Lawsuits Against Theater Owner in Aurora Shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) — A federal judge is backing lawsuits related to the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.

On Friday, a judge ruled that theater owner Cinemark could have predicted patrons might be targeted for an attack, noting what the judge called the recent grim history of mass shootings and mass killings.

The ruling allows 20 lawsuits against Cinemark to advance, but did not determine whether Cinemark did enough to try to prevent the shooting.

Twelve people were killed and dozens were injured in the 2012 mass shooting.

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US Continues Airstrikes in Push to Retake Mosul Dam

iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD, Iraq) — United States warplanes continued to launch air strikes near the Mosul Dam Sunday in support of a Kurdish and Iraqi ground operation to retake Iraq’s largest dam from the control of hundreds of ISIS fighters.

Seizing back the dam has been a concern for Iraq and the U.S. because a breach could release a torrent of water that could flood Mosul and possibly reach as far downstream as Baghdad.

A mix of fighters, bombers and Predator drones conducted 14 airstrikes Sunday near the dam that targeted ISIS vehicles and positions. On Saturday, U.S. Central Command had launched nine airstrikes on the first day of the operation.

The combined 23 airstrikes over two days is almost equal to the same number of strikes conducted by U.S. military aircraft over the previous week. The significant ramp-up in airstrike operations reflects the scope of the effort to seize the dam from a significant force of ISIS fighters.

A U.S. official familiar with the operation said that there are a few hundred ISIS fighters at the dam.

The strikes “damaged or destroyed 10 ISIL [ISIS] armed vehicles, seven ISIL Humvees, two ISIL armored personnel carriers, and one ISIL checkpoint,” according to a statement released by U.S. Central Command.

Centcom released two videos showing airstrikes conducted Saturday near the Mosul Dam. One video showed a strike against an ISIS armed truck, the second video showed a strike against a Humvee truck being used by ISIS fighters.

The armored vehicles being used by ISIS fighters indicates how well equipped the militants have become using American-made weapons and vehicles they seized from fleeing Iraqi security forces when they captured Mosul earlier this summer.

The release said all of the airstrikes have been conducted under authority granted by President Obama “to support humanitarian efforts in Iraq, as well as to protect critical infrastructure, U.S. personnel and facilities, and support Iraqi security forces and Kurdish defense forces” who are working to defeat ISIS.

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Alabama Family Catches Record-Breaking Alligator

iStock/Thinkstock(THOMASTON, Ala.) — A 1,000-pound gator is breaking records in Alabama.

Five members of the Stokes family caught this monster alligator Saturday in Thomaston, Alabama.

It took them 10 hours to wrangle the mammoth beast.

Biologists at Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries easily measured the alligator at 15 feet, but weighing it was a big more tricky.

The alligator was so large it destroyed the winch used to lift average-sized alligators.

Eventually, a biologist had to use a backhoe to lift the alligator onto the scale.

It weighed in at 1,011.5 pounds, making the gator the largest ever killed in Alabama.

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Rep Kinzinger Says ‘Worst Case Scenario’ for Mideast Playing Out in Iraq, Syria

http://kinzinger.house.gov(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Adam Kinzinger issued a stark warning about recent events in Iraq Sunday on This Week and called for the extremist group ISIS, which has seized large amounts of territory within the country, to be crushed.

“What we’re watching in Iraq and Syria frankly is the worst case scenario for the Middle East,” Kinzinger, R-Ill., told ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

“What we’ve begun doing is very good, but I think we have to get even bigger and realize that the crushing and pushing back of ISIS, not only in Iraq but also in Syria, is utmost priority,” he said.

His comments follow a week of targeted airstrikes by the United States near the Mosul Dam, now under ISIS control, and aid operations by international forces to combat the persecution of the Yazidi religious minority.

Kinzinger, who served in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq and is currently a reserve in the National Guard, was positive about the U.S. response but said the Obama administration could do more to push back ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.

“The president has got to stand up in front of the American people and say, ‘Look, you may be war-weary, but in five or ten years we don’t want to look back and say we missed all the signs,'” Kinzinger said.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who served in the National Guard in Iraq, said the U.S. needs to clarify its mission.

“What is our mission?” she asked. “What are we trying to accomplish here?”

Gabbard agreed the U.S. could do more such as arming Kurdish forces with heavy weapons, while Kinzinger suggested that U.S. Special Forces embed with the Iraqi military.

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Rep Kinzinger Says ‘Worst Case Scenario’ for Mideast Playing Out in Iraq, Syria

http://kinzinger.house.gov(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Adam Kinzinger issued a stark warning about recent events in Iraq Sunday on This Week and called for the extremist group ISIS, which has seized large amounts of territory within the country, to be crushed.

“What we’re watching in Iraq and Syria frankly is the worst case scenario for the Middle East,” Kinzinger, R-Ill., told ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

“What we’ve begun doing is very good, but I think we have to get even bigger and realize that the crushing and pushing back of ISIS, not only in Iraq but also in Syria, is utmost priority,” he said.

His comments follow a week of targeted airstrikes by the United States near the Mosul Dam, now under ISIS control, and aid operations by international forces to combat the persecution of the Yazidi religious minority.

Kinzinger, who served in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq and is currently a reserve in the National Guard, was positive about the U.S. response but said the Obama administration could do more to push back ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.

“The president has got to stand up in front of the American people and say, ‘Look, you may be war-weary, but in five or ten years we don’t want to look back and say we missed all the signs,'” Kinzinger said.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who served in the National Guard in Iraq, said the U.S. needs to clarify its mission.

“What is our mission?” she asked. “What are we trying to accomplish here?”

Gabbard agreed the U.S. could do more such as arming Kurdish forces with heavy weapons, while Kinzinger suggested that U.S. Special Forces embed with the Iraqi military.

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Rep Kinzinger Says ‘Worst Case Scenario’ for Mideast Playing Out in Iraq, Syria

http://kinzinger.house.gov(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Adam Kinzinger issued a stark warning about recent events in Iraq Sunday on This Week and called for the extremist group ISIS, which has seized large amounts of territory within the country, to be crushed.

“What we’re watching in Iraq and Syria frankly is the worst case scenario for the Middle East,” Kinzinger, R-Ill., told ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

“What we’ve begun doing is very good, but I think we have to get even bigger and realize that the crushing and pushing back of ISIS, not only in Iraq but also in Syria, is utmost priority,” he said.

His comments follow a week of targeted airstrikes by the United States near the Mosul Dam, now under ISIS control, and aid operations by international forces to combat the persecution of the Yazidi religious minority.

Kinzinger, who served in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq and is currently a reserve in the National Guard, was positive about the U.S. response but said the Obama administration could do more to push back ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.

“The president has got to stand up in front of the American people and say, ‘Look, you may be war-weary, but in five or ten years we don’t want to look back and say we missed all the signs,'” Kinzinger said.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who served in the National Guard in Iraq, said the U.S. needs to clarify its mission.

“What is our mission?” she asked. “What are we trying to accomplish here?”

Gabbard agreed the U.S. could do more such as arming Kurdish forces with heavy weapons, while Kinzinger suggested that U.S. Special Forces embed with the Iraqi military.

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ‘Thunderstruck’ By Images of Ferguson Police

governor.mo.gov(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Sunday on This Week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, sitting down for an interview in Ferguson, told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that he was astounded by some of the images that came out of Ferguson depicting what he described as an “over-militarization” of the police force.

“I, all of us were thunderstruck by the pictures we saw,” Nixon said on This Week. “I mean, the over-militarization, the MRAPs rolling in, the guns pointed at kids in the street. All of that I think instead of ratcheting down brought emotion up.”

But Nixon rejected responsibility for failing to quell the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, responding, “I’ve been here almost every day… The bottom line: we’ve been focused on meeting with groups, meeting with the parents, making sure that we were set up and then taking the unprecedented action on Wednesday to replace and to bring in the highway patrol.”

Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson on Saturday and imposed a curfew following days of protests that erupted after an unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, identified Friday as Darren Wilson.

During his interview on This Week, the governor revealed that the state was caught off-guard by the Ferguson Police Department’s decision to release surveillance video of Brown during an alleged store robbery on the same day they named the officer responsible for his death.

“We were unaware that they were going to release it and we certainly were not happy with that being released. Especially in the way that it was it appeared to you know cast dispersions on a young man that was gunned down in the street,” Nixon told Raddatz.

The security footage, apparently showing Brown committing a robbery at a convenience store just minutes before his death, reignited civil unrest in the town over the weekend. The Police Department claims that they were obligated to release the tape because of requests made by journalists under Missouri’s “Sunshine,” or freedom-of-information law, despite the Department of Justice and federal investigators opposing its release.

The attorney for the Brown family Anthony Gray, who also appeared on This Week, said the family was disturbed by the release of the surveillance video.

“Well, they first of all they were very appalled by it,” Gray said on This Week. “They saw it for the first time, at least a glimpse of it, on nationwide TV. They had requested an opportunity through the attorneys to see any video footage before it was released. That request obviously was not honored. So quite naturally, the reaction was very, on the part of the family, they were very disturbed by it. And I would just point out that no one from the family was given the opportunity to even authenticate that that was actually Mike Brown Jr. in the video.”

“There’s no reason not to believe that it’s him but much like when you identify somebody who is deceased, you have a family member that come in and make a positive ID. And they have not had an opportunity to do that,” Gray added.

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Sammy Watkins Hurts Ribs

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) — Buffalo Bills first round draft pick Sammy Watkins left Saturday nights preseason game against the Steelers with a rib contusion in the first quarter and did not return.

Watkins was trying to pull in a pass by EJ Manuel on a quick slant that was low and incomplete. Steelers defender Cortez Allen fell to the ground while trying to make the play and line backer Ryan Shazier jumped to avoid Allen and collided with Watkins’ rib cage.

“I think Sammy will be fine,” Manuel said. “Hopefully he’ll come back and bounce back from whatever little injury he had.”

Watkins walked to the locker room on his own power, but the Bills have still not released any further update after he received X-rays.

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ‘Thunderstruck’ By Images of Ferguson Police

governor.mo.gov(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Sunday on This Week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, sitting down for an interview in Ferguson, told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that he was astounded by some of the images that came out of Ferguson depicting what he described as an “over-militarization” of the police force.

“I, all of us were thunderstruck by the pictures we saw,” Nixon said on This Week. “I mean, the over-militarization, the MRAPs rolling in, the guns pointed at kids in the street. All of that I think instead of ratcheting down brought emotion up.”

But Nixon rejected responsibility for failing to quell the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, responding, “I’ve been here almost every day… The bottom line: we’ve been focused on meeting with groups, meeting with the parents, making sure that we were set up and then taking the unprecedented action on Wednesday to replace and to bring in the highway patrol.”

Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson on Saturday and imposed a curfew following days of protests that erupted after an unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, identified Friday as Darren Wilson.

During his interview on This Week, the governor revealed that the state was caught off-guard by the Ferguson Police Department’s decision to release surveillance video of Brown during an alleged store robbery on the same day they named the officer responsible for his death.

“We were unaware that they were going to release it and we certainly were not happy with that being released. Especially in the way that it was it appeared to you know cast dispersions on a young man that was gunned down in the street,” Nixon told Raddatz.

The security footage, apparently showing Brown committing a robbery at a convenience store just minutes before his death, reignited civil unrest in the town over the weekend. The Police Department claims that they were obligated to release the tape because of requests made by journalists under Missouri’s “Sunshine,” or freedom-of-information law, despite the Department of Justice and federal investigators opposing its release.

The attorney for the Brown family Anthony Gray, who also appeared on This Week, said the family was disturbed by the release of the surveillance video.

“Well, they first of all they were very appalled by it,” Gray said on This Week. “They saw it for the first time, at least a glimpse of it, on nationwide TV. They had requested an opportunity through the attorneys to see any video footage before it was released. That request obviously was not honored. So quite naturally, the reaction was very, on the part of the family, they were very disturbed by it. And I would just point out that no one from the family was given the opportunity to even authenticate that that was actually Mike Brown Jr. in the video.”

“There’s no reason not to believe that it’s him but much like when you identify somebody who is deceased, you have a family member that come in and make a positive ID. And they have not had an opportunity to do that,” Gray added.

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Justice Department To Perform Own Autopsy on Michael Brown

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The Justice Department will perform its own autopsy on the body of Michael Brown as part of its independent investigation into the Missouri teenager’s shooting death, officials announced Sunday.

“Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner,” the Justice Department said in a statement Sunday.

The autopsy will take place “as soon as possible.”

In addition to the Justice Department’s autopsy, the St. Louis County Medical Examiner and forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who was hired by the Brown family, are conducting their own autopsies.

According to preliminary results from the county’s autopsy, Brown died from gunshot wounds. Justice Department officials will also consider that autopsy in their investigation.

Brown was killed last Saturday when he was shot by a Ferguson police officer, identified by the department as Darren Wilson. The shooting has sparked protests and racial tensions in the city, and the state has since imposed a curfew that began this weekend.

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