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Saturday, Nov 18, 2017
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Things to Know in the U.S. for Nov. 1

Wrong home to burgle

"When you break in people's stuff, it's because someone ain't whooped your tail!"

The former mayor of Jackson, Miss., shouted while paddling a burglary suspect. Pastor Tony Yarber, inset, said he caught Juwuan Bibbs trying to break into his truck early Sunday. So, he put the 22-year-old in a headlock, dragged him into his garage and called for his fraternity paddle. Yarber's daughter filmed the spanking while waiting for police. "If he was going to go to jail for a day and get out, I wanted him to remember why he went," Yarber, 39, said. Several years ago, the kickboxer trained in taekwondo fought off two men trying to break into his house. When police arrived this time, Yarber said an officer told Bibbs: "Wrong house, homeboy." Bibbs is charged with auto burglary and marijuana possession. Police recovered a handgun they believe belonged to Bibbs.

Washington, D.C.

In Russia inquiry, senators blast Facebook, Twitter, Google

Exasperated U.S. senators harshly criticized representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google at a hearing Tuesday for not doing more to prevent Russian agents interfering with the American political process as early as 2015. At one point, Democratic Sen. Al Franken shook his head after he couldn't get all the companies to commit to not accepting political ads bought with North Korean currency. The hearing by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary panel was in a cavernous hearing room usually reserved for high-profile events like Supreme Court confirmations. About 50 people waited to get in as senators fired pointed questions and waved at cardboard displays of outrageous, misleading ads. "People are buying ads on your platform with rubles. They are political ads," Franken fumed. "You put billions of data points together all the time. ... Google has all knowledge that man has ever developed. You can't put together rubles with a political ad and go like, 'Hmmm, those data points spell out something pretty bad?'" Technology company representatives fumbled at points. After Franken pointed out foreign spending on U.S. political campaigns is illegal, Google's director of law enforcement and information security replied only that the search giant would refuse political ads paid with foreign currency "if it's a good enough signal on illegality." Added Facebook's general counsel: "In hindsight, we should have had a broader lens." The companies all pledged to do more and politely said they understood the seriousness with which lawmakers are taking the question of Russian meddling. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar pressured them to support her "Honest Ads" bill — co-sponsored with Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and Republican Sen. John McCain — to bring political ad rules from TV, radio and print to the internet.

Ohio

Henry, dad of famous hippo Fiona, dies at 36

The Cincinnati Zoo says the father of its famous baby hippo, Fiona, has died at age 36. Henry had been struggling with health issues for months and lost hundreds of pounds, officials said. The hippo had been in obvious decline the past few days, and staffers decided to euthanize Henry on Tuesday after concluding his quality of life wouldn't improve. The zoo said the average life expectancy for a Nile hippopotamus such as Henry is 35 years. Henry's decline came after Fiona became a social media sensation. Fiona was born six weeks early but survived and thrived. "He couldn't have left a better legacy," the zoo said in a mournful blog post. Henry had mated with 18-year-old Bibi at the zoo, and the three hippos gained fans online and in person. Zoo officials have said they are grateful for the community's support during "the toughest of times."

Nation

Will Mueller gain protection from Trump?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell exhibited no interest Tuesday in considering legislation shielding the special counsel from President Donald Trump, even as Republicans warn the president against interfering with Robert Mueller's investigation. McConnell's remarks came as Trump has continued using Twitter to complain about the continued focus on "phony Trump/Russia" connections, instead of on Hillary Clinton and Democrats. They also came a day after Mueller's inquiry into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential race yielded a guilty plea and two indictments of Trump campaign officials. Two bipartisan bills were introduced months ago that would make it harder for any special counsel to be fired to shield them from the president. After an initial flurry of support, the bills have stalled as Trump has softened his public criticism of Mueller. "We've got plenty of things we have to do between now and the end of the year that will take up floor time," McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday when asked if he'd bring the measures to the Senate floor if Trump impedes Mueller's work.

Pennsylvania

Activists disrupt poverty lesson, show politician real thing

Activists disrupted a poverty lesson at Philadelphia City Hall, persuading the councilman who organized the event to instead go on a tour of one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. City council members and staff had gathered Tuesday in a gilded conference room to take on the roles of impoverished people applying for social services. More than 1 out of 4 residents lives in poverty. "We don't need simulation," Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif said. "We can take you to those places where people ... actually would need help and assistance." So councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and two activists left, taking a train on a 20-minute trip to a blighted neighborhood where they heard from residents about people publicly injecting heroin, alleged police harassment and fatal shootings. The other council members stayed put to take part in the planned "poverty simulation." While in the neighborhood, Jones said: "We have to do better. It's not a simulation. For these people, it's real." — tbt* wires

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