New York, Nov 1 (AP/UNB) — Police investigating the mysterious deaths of two Saudi Arabian sisters whose bound bodies washed up on New York City's waterfront on Oct. 24 say it appears they were alive when they went into the water.
New York City police said Wednesday that 16-year-old Tala Farea and 22-year-old Rotana Farea were last seen Sept. 24 in Virginia, where they lived, and appear to have traveled together to New York.
Investigators haven't determined how the sisters died. They say there were no obvious signs of trauma.
The sisters' mother told detectives that a Saudi official called her the day before the bodies were discovered and said the family had to leave the U.S. because her daughters had applied for political asylum.
The NYPD says there's no known nexus between the sisters' death and the Saudi government.
Washington, Oct 31 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump says the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil "will be ended one way or the other."
As Trump considers an executive action to curtail what he terms "so-called Birthright Citizenship," he tweets that "It is not covered by the 14th Amendment."
He added Wednesday: "Many legal scholars agree" with his interpretation.
In fact, House Speaker Paul Ryan and scholars widely pan the idea that Trump could unilaterally change the rules on who is a citizen. And it's highly questionable whether an act of Congress could do it, either.
Trump has discussed the issue before and reinjected it into the political conversation just days before the 2018 midterms as he looks to energize his base.
Mexico, Oct 31 (AP/UNB) — Thousands of Central American migrants in a caravan traveling through Mexico planned to rest at least a day or longer in the southern city of Juchitan beginning Wednesday, hoping to organize mass transport northward after days of hard walking in tropical temperatures that have left them about 900 miles from the nearest U.S. border crossing.
A second, smaller group, of 1,000 or so migrants who forced their way into Mexico on Monday was trailing some 250 miles back, stopping for the night in the city of Tapachula.
At a Tuesday evening assembly, participants in the bigger group named a committee to negotiate with Mexican authorities over a possible "bridge plan" that could leapfrog them to the Mexico's capital by bus. There was no indication from officials whether the request to transport the perhaps 4,000 people remaining in the group would be granted.
Starting out in Honduras more than two weeks ago, the caravan migrants have spent their nights camping out in the main squares of small cities in the southern states of Chiapas and now Oaxaca. But a deadly earthquake last year destroyed Juchitan's central market, prompting it to be provisionally moved to the main square — meaning there was no room for them there.
Instead they spent the night on a municipal-owned lot on the outskirts of town where a high ceiling sheltered a cement floor. Outside the structure many more bedded down on blankets or cardboard sheets in the grass, with some lashing tarps to the foliage for rudimentary shelter.
Full tanks of water were set up for people to be able to bathe, and a large video screen showed soccer programming and then cartoons for the kids.
The two groups combined represent just a few days' worth of the average flow of migrants to the United States. Similar caravans have occurred regularly over the years, passing largely unnoticed, but the new ones have become a hot-button political issue amid an unprecedented pushback from U.S. President Donald Trump.
With just a week to U.S. midterm elections, the Pentagon has announced it will deploy 5,200 troops to the Southwest border, and Trump has continued to tweet and speak about the migrants. On Monday he said he wants to build tent cities to house asylum seekers, and Tuesday he floated the possibility of ending the constitutional right to U.S. citizenship for babies born in the country to noncitizens. Experts widely dismissed the idea that the president could unilaterally change the rules on who is a citizen and said it's highly questionable whether an act of Congress could do it, either.
"According to what they say, we are not going to be very welcome at the border," Honduran migrant Levin Guillen said when asked about Trump. "But we are going to try."
Guillen, a 23-year-old farmer from Corinto, Honduras, said he had been getting threats back home from the same people who killed his father 18 years ago. He has been on his own since his mother died four years ago, and he hopes to reach an aunt who lives in Los Angeles and have a chance to work and live in peace.
"We just want to a way to get to our final goal, which is the border," he said.
Worn down from long miles of walking and frustrated by the slow progress, many migrants have been dropping out and returning home or applying for protected status in Mexico. The initial group is already significantly diminished from its estimated peak at over 7,000-strong. A caravan in the spring ultimately fizzled to just about 200 people who reached the U.S. border at San Diego.
Deputy foreign ministers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico met Tuesday and agreed to coordinate "special attention" for the caravans, guaranteeing human rights, humanitarian assistance and "a safe, orderly and regular migration" in accordance with each country's laws.
Mexico's Interior Department said two Hondurans who requested entry were identified as having arrest warrants back home, one drug-related and the other for suspected homicide. They were deported. The department said in a statement that the men were part of "the migrant caravan," but did not say which group or specify when they were detained at checkpoints in the southern state of Chiapas.
Echoing their countrymen in the initial caravan, Hondurans in the second group talked of fleeing poverty and gang violence in one of the world's deadliest countries by homicide rates. They said asylum in the United States is their primary goal, but some expressed openness to applying for protected status in Mexico if that doesn't work out.
"Continue on to the United States, that is the first objective," said Carlos Enrique Carcamo, a 50-year-old boat mechanic. "But if that's not possible, well, permission here in Mexico to work or stay here."
Gerbert Hinestrosa, a 54-year-old traveling with his wife and teenage son, said he realizes it will be hard to achieve his dream of reaching the U.S.
"Right now I feel good," he said. "We have barely started, but I think it is going to be very difficult."
New York, Oct 31 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Two people were killed and another two injured in a helicopter crash in the northern part of the U.S. state of New York on Tuesday, local media reported.
The incident took place around 4:15 p.m. (2015 GMT Tuesday) when a maintenance helicopter got tangled in power lines and caught fire before crashing in Beekmantown.
The helicopter was contracted by the New York Power Authority, according to a spokesperson of the agency.
The victims include utility workers who were conducting line inspection.
There is yet no detail about the incident and the local police couldn't be reached immediately for comments.
Pittsburgh, Oct 31 (AP/UNB) — One stone and one white rosebud for each victim. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid homage Tuesday to each of the 11 people slain in the worst instance of anti-Semitic violence in American history. As the Trumps placed their tributes outside the Tree of Life synagogue, protesters nearby shouted that the president was not welcome.
The emotional, dissonant scene reflected the increasingly divided nation that Trump leads, one gripped by a week of political violence and hate and hurtling toward contentious midterm elections that could alter the path of a presidency.
On their arrival in Pittsburgh, the Trumps entered the vestibule of the synagogue, where they lit candles for each victim before stepping outside. Shouts of "Words matter!" and "Trump, go home!" could be heard from demonstrators gathered not far from where a gunman had opened fire on Saturday.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who had been conducting services when the shots rang out, gestured at the white Star of David posted for each victim. At each, the president placed a stone, a Jewish burial tradition, while the first lady added a flower. They were trailed by first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, who are Jewish.
Near the synagogue, flowers, candles and chalk drawings filled the corner, including a small rock painted with the number "6,000,011," adding the victims this week to the estimated number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.
The Trumps later spent more than an hour at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where some of the victims are recovering. The couple's motorcade passed several hundred protesters on the street and a sign that said "It's your fault." Inside, Trump visited with wounded police officers and spent an hour with the widow of victim Dr. Richard Gottfried, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Trump stepped into the role of national consoler, a title he wears uncomfortably, with his visit to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. More at home waging partisan warfare than assuaging America's grief, Trump has shied away from public displays of unity in the wake of other tragedies.
Sanders said Trump did not speak publicly Tuesday to denounce anti-Semitism because he has spoken about it before.
"He wanted today to be about showing respect for the families and the friends of the victims as well as for Jewish Americans," Sanders said.
Questions have long swirled about the president's credibility as a unifier. Since his 2016 Republican campaign for the White House, Trump has at times been slow to denounce white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other hate-filled individuals and groups that found common cause with his nationalistic political rhetoric.
Trump traveled to the historic hub of the city's Jewish community as the first funerals were held for the victims, who range in age from 54 to 97. The dead include a set of brothers, a husband and wife, professors, dentists and a physician.
Hundreds of protesters assembled to show their displeasure with Trump's presence, some carrying signs that said "Hate has No Home in Squirrel Hill" and "Trump Loves Nazis."
Squirrel Hill resident Paul Carberry said Trump should not have visited until the dead were buried.
"He didn't pull the trigger, but his verbiage and actions don't help," Carberry said.
But Shayna Marcus, a nurse who rushed to the synagogue on Saturday to help with the wounded, said she felt that the president was taking an unfair portion of the blame.
"I don't think focusing on Trump is the answer — or on politics," said Marcus, whose four yarmulke-wearing boys carried signs in support of the president.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, back in Washington, told reporters: "If people are there to protest, that's their right. For the president, it was not a moment for politics."
When Air Force One touched down at the airport outside Pittsburgh, the Trumps were not greeted by the usual phalanx of local officials that typically welcomes a visiting president, a reflection of controversy surrounding the visit.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, told reporters before the visit was announced that the White House ought to consult with the families of the victims about their preferences and asked that the president not come during a funeral. Neither he nor Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf appeared with Trump.
Beth Melena, campaign spokeswoman for Wolf, said the governor based his decision to stay away on input from the victims' families, who told him they did not want the president to be there on the day their loved ones were being buried.
As Trump's motorcade wound through downtown Pittsburgh, some onlookers saluted the president with upraised middle fingers and others with downturned thumbs.
The White House had invited the top four congressional leaders to join Trump in Pennsylvania, but none accompanied him.
A spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he already had events in his home state of Kentucky, pushing back on the suggestion that he declined. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan's office said he could not attend on short notice. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also opted not to participate.