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7 things to know now: Hernandez kills self; Walmart discounts; Georgia race heads to runoff; asteroid

1. Hernandez kills self: Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL star who was serving life in prison for murder, committed suicide in his cell Wednesday morning, according to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. The former New England Patriots star was discovered hanging in his cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, at 3:05 a.m., according to officials. “Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population unit,” a statement said. “Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window. Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.”

2. Wanted to kill whites: A man in Fresno, California, who said he wanted to kill as many white people as he could, shot and killed three men at random, all within a city block, on Tuesday. Kori Ali Muhammad told police that he hates white people and wanted to kill as many as he could before he was caught. Police said Muhammad is also believed to have shot a security guard at a motel last week.

3. Election heads to runoff: A Georgia special election will be decided in a runoff in June after none of the 18 candidates on the ballot got more than 50 percent of the vote. Democrat Jon Ossoff, who garnered national attention and support for his run for the seat vacated by Tom Price, narrowly missed the 50 percent mark and winning the race outright. Price resigned from the House when he became President Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary. Ossoff will face Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, in the June 20 runoff.

4. Near-miss today: An asteroid believed to be almost a half-mile long will pass by Earth on Wednesday in what astronomers call a “near-miss.” The asteroid, nicknamed “The Rock” by Slooh.com in honor of actor Dwayne Johnson, will pass by Earth at a distance of 1.1 million miles.

5. Walmart discounts:

Starting Wednesday, Walmart will begin discounting thousands of items that customers order online and pick up at local stores. According to the company, some 10,000 items will initially be discounted, with that number growing to 1 million items by early summer.

And one more

Swimmer Michael Phelps said he has not completely ruled out a return to the sport, despite indicating at the Summer Olympics last year that his career in the pool is over. "The true test will be, if I do end up going over to the worlds this summer, do I have that itch again?" Phelps, the winningest Olympic athlete ever, told The Associated Press about attending the world championships in Budapest this summer.

In case you missed it

Immigration issues: What is an H-1B visa?

President Donald Trump will be in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, introducing his “Buy American, Hire American” campaign.

The president will be signing an executive order directing the various agencies to work to prevent fraud when it comes to immigration and to make sure visas are awarded to the "most-skilled or highest-paid applicants" who come from a foreign country to work in a specific job in the U.S.

Here’s a look at the H-1B visas, who gets them and how they work.

What is a visa?

Here's how the State Department says:

“A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.

"Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.

… U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.”

What is an H-1B visa?

The H1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa. The visa allows foreigners to work in the United States on a temporary basis for up to six years.

How do you get one? 

To get an H1B visa, the person who is to employ a foreign citizen must first offer that person a job and then must apply for the H1B visa with the U.S. Department of Immigration. Once the petition is approved, the visa serves as a permit to work in the United States for a specified period of time.

Who can get one?

The H1B visa is for those in specialty occupations; those who possess a body of specialized knowledge for a particular job, and those who hold at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

Some of the occupations include under H1B are:

-Accounting-Architecture-Arts-Biotechnology-Business specialties-Chemistry-Education-Engineering-Law-Mathematics-Medicine and health-Physical sciences,-Social sciences-Theology

What if they leave the job or the job is discontinued?

If the job is lost or discontinued, a foreign worker under an H1B visa must apply for a change of status to another non-immigrant status, or find another employer. If they can do neither, they must leave the United States. As of Jan. 17, the department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services modified the rules to allow a grace period of up to 60 days to have the status changed or to leave the country.

How many people get an H-1B visa each year?

H-1B visas admit 65,000 workers each year. Another 20,000 graduate student workers are also allowed in the country on the H-1B.

How are they awarded?

They are awarded by a random lottery.

How will the process change after today?

Trump’s executive order will instruct federal agencies to tighten oversight of H1-B visas to help prevent abuse of the system.

 

Elizabeth Warren says she isn’t running for president in 2020

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday she has no intention of running for president in 2020.

Warren,who was asked about plans to make a run for president during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show, said she was “running in 2018 for senator from Massachusetts."

“Today” host Matt Lauer reminded Warren about the support generated for her when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Kentucky), admonished her on the floor of the Senate during a debate on Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination as attorney general. 

“Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted," McConnell said during the February Senate session.

The phrase, “She persisted,” quickly became bumper sticker fodder. 

Warren’s book “This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class,” is set for release Tuesday. The director of the conservative group America Rising says the group views her book launch “as the soft launch of her presidential campaign."

 

7 things to know now: Tax Day is here; manhunt for Facebook shooter; Arkansas executions

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

Pence on Korea: Vice President Mike Pence vowed to stand behind Japan as tensions remain high after North Korea’s testing of a ballistic missile over the weekend. Pence, who visited Korea’s Demilitarized Zone on Monday, said: "We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan. We are with you 100 percent."

May calls for election: British Prime Minister Theresa May is calling for a general election to be held on June 8. In a surprise move, May said divisions in Parliament could “risk our ability to make a success of Brexit,” the country’s exit from the European Union. May said Parliament will be asked on Wednesday to approve the general election. The British pound fell against the dollar on the news.

Georgia election: An election being held Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District is being seen by some as a referendum on Republican rule in Congress and President Donald Trump’s first few months in office. Some think that if a Democrat, including front-runner Jon Ossoff, can take the seat, it could signal enough dissatisfaction with Trump’s administration to put midterm elections up for grabs.

Facebook killing: A manhunt continues for Steve Stephens, who police say killed a 74-year-old retiree in Cleveland, then posted the murder on Facebook. Authorities have offered a $50,000 reward for information that leads to Stephens’ arrest. In a video posted after the killing, he blamed his girlfriend and said he “just snapped.”

Arkansas executions: The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the state of Arkansas from carrying out a double execution on Monday night. The ruling came as one of the two to be executed was heading to the death chamber. Arkansas officials vowed to keep an ambitious schedule of executing eight men in 11 days, marking the first time since 2005 that Arkansas has put someone to death. The issue with the executions revolves around the use of a sedative that had been used in flawed executions in other states.

And one more It’s Tax Day, the day that your income tax return is due to the government. Americans got a few extra days to prepare returns this year because of Emancipation Day, a holiday celebrated in Washington, D.C. You have until midnight to file your return or an extension. If doing your taxes has got you down, check out these deals and freebies that some businesses are offering.

In case you missed it

WATCH: Elephant escapes angry crocodile with help from its friends

Elephants were on high alert when one of their buddies found himself in a deadly predicament at Liwonde National Park in Malawi.

A crotchety old croc lurking in the local water cooler scared the living daylights out of the group of African elephants when it popped up and chomped on the trunk of one of their friends.

>> Read more trending news

The poor elephant let out a blood-curdling cry, and all of his fellow elephants joined in, sounding the alarm.

Although the croc was determined to hang on, a leading elephant was up to the tusk – errrr, task – in fending off the predator.

>> Watch the clip here

Alexander Makanga had his camera rolling while this insane nature moment was taking place and later uploaded it to YouTube.

He had been riding along in a boat in a nearby river.

When asked on YouTube whether he filmed the video, Makanka replied, “Yes, I filmed it myself using a humble Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. I did not realize the severity of the situation until I had finished recording. Absolutely insane. This happened just few meters from the boat.”

(H/t Daily Mail)

Did the U.S. use a cyberattack to take down the North Korean missile?

Several media outlets are reporting that a U.S. cyberattack sabotaged North Korea’s missile launch on Sunday.

According to the former British foreign secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the missile test likely failed because the U.S. interfered with the workings of the missile's system.

"It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is a very strong belief that the U.S. -- through cyber methods -- has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail," Rifkind told the BBC on Sunday. 

The missile test came a day after the national celebration of the birth of Kim Il-Sung, the founder of North Korea and the grandfather of the country’s current leader, Kim Jung-Un. The parade in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, featured various weapons, including 56 missiles.

New York Times story in March reported on a U.S.operation designed to disrupt North Korea's nuclear missile program. The operation was begun three years ago under President Barack Obama's administration.

According to the report, Kim was "widely reported to have ordered an investigation into whether the United States was sabotaging North Korea’s launches, and over the past week he has executed senior security officials."Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland declined to comment on "Fox News Sunday" about reports that the U.S. might have used a cyberattack to down the medium-range missile.

“You know we can’t talk about secret intelligence and things that might have been done, covert operations,” McFarland said. “I really have no comment.”

Still, McFarland said cyber warfare is no longer the stuff of science fiction, but is happening now. 

“I do think we are entering a whole new era, not just with North Korea but with everybody,” McFarland said. “With any country, major country, we are entering a cyber platform, a cyber battlefield. That is where a lot of the wars of the future are going to be fought.”

It is not yet known if the missile was carrying a nuclear device or a conventional warhead. North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests in the past.

Here’s what we know about the test:

When did it happen?

The test was on Sunday, 24 hours after a celebration of the birthday of the founder of North Korea.

What type of missile was it?

That is not yet known. An unnamed White House source told The Associated Press that it was a medium-range ballistic missile.

Where did the test take place?

The missile was launched from Sinpo, North Korea. Sinpo is on the country’s east coast and is 182 miles from Seoul, South Korea.

Did the U.S. know this was coming?North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un had hinted that a test might take place. According to McFarland, the U.S. had good intelligence information that a missile would be tested over the weekend.

What’s next?

That’s not clear, but it depends on North Korea’s next move. North Korea has indicated that it will continue to test missiles and will work to develop a warhead that can fit on an intercontinental missile and hit other countries that are far away, such as the United States.Other nations, including China, are said to be considering their own responses to the test.

H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, said Sunday that short of military action, a range of responses are on the table.

"It's time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully," McMasters said on ABC's "This Week.” "We are working together with our allies and partners and with the Chinese leadership to develop a range of options."

McMaster said that there is “international consensus” that North Korea needs to be pressured into ending the missile testing.

What has been done so far?

A defensive missile system was sent to South Korea, and Japanese officials said they are preparing for the possibility that they would have to evacuate 60,000 Japanese citizens from South Korea should war break out.

The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group is sitting off the Korean Peninsula, and China said on Friday that North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an "irreversible and unmanageable stage" as far as nuclear weapons are concerned.

North Korea missile test: What is the DMZ?

Vice President Mike Pence toured the Korean Demilitarized Zone on Monday, warning leaders in North Korea that "the era of strategic patience is over.”

Pence arrived at Camp Bonifas, a military base near the zone, on Monday morning, and was taken to see the DMZ after a briefing with military leaders. He is expected to meet with American troops later in the day. His stop in South Korea is the first on a 10-day tour of Asia.

Pence toured the area said to be the most militarized border on earth. He was seen being photographed by North Korean troops stationed on the other side of the DMZ.

What is the Demilitarized Zone and why is it there? Here’s a quick look at its history.

What is the Korean Demilitarized Zone?

The Demilitarized Zone or DMZ serves as a border between North Korea and South Korea. There is an enormous military presence on each side of the zone.

When was it created?

The zone was born out of an agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations at the end of the Korean War in 1953.

How big is it?

The Korean DMZ is 160 miles long and 2½ miles wide.

Where is it? 

The zone crosses the Korean peninsula, intersecting the 38th parallel north. The 38th parallel was the border between North and South Korea before the Korean War in the 1950s. The DMZ incorporates 1.2 miles of land on either side of what was the cease-fire line at the end of the war.

Does anyone ever go into it? 

There is a meeting point in the zone called the Joint Security Area. It is near the western end of the DMZ where the village of Panmunjom once stood. If negotiations over some conflict are needed, that is the place where representatives of both sides can meet.

During the last 60 years, there have also been a series of tunnels dug under the zone by North Korea. The tunnels are believed to have been built as an invasion route for North Korean forces.

.

 

7 things to know now: Cleveland Facebook killer; Pence in Korea; Prince Harry on Diana; Biden divorce

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Search for Facebook killerPolice in Cleveland are looking for a man who killed an elderly man then posted a video on Facebook showing the murder. According to police, the suspect, Steve Stephens, did not know his victim. Stephens claimed that he has killed several people. "We need to bring this to a conclusion -- today," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters Sunday. Stephens was last seen driving a late model Ford Fusion. He is a black male, 6 feet 1 inch tall, and weighs 244 pounds.

2. Pence visits DMZ: Vice President Mike Pence, who visited the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea on Sunday, warned that “all options are on the table,” should there be any military action by North Korea. "We will defeat any attack and we will meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective response," Pence said. Pence’s comments came a day after North Korea conducted a failed missile launch. Pence is on a 10-day tour in Asia. President Donald Trump said this weekend that the United States is working with China to solve the “North Korean problem.” 

3. Prince Harry talks about Diana: Prince Harry says he “shut down all his emotions” for 20 years following the death of his mother, Princess Diana. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the prince, 32, said following Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris in 1997, he came “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions,” and sought counseling. It’s the first time Harry has talked publicly about dealing with his mother’s death.

4. Biden divorce final: Hunter Biden and his wife of more than 20 years, Kathleen, have officially divorced. “Both parties acknowledge the valuable contributions that each has made to their marriage and are committed to closing this chapter of their relationship in a dignified, respectful, and family-focused manner,” they wrote in court papers filed Friday. Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, announced a few weeks ago that he had been dating his late brother Beau Biden’s wife, Hallie. 

5. Fire captain shoots two: A man was shot and killed, and a woman injured at a Tucson, Arizona, mall Friday night when an fire department captain fired on the two in a crowded restaurant. The gunman, identified as Capt. Fredrick Bair, 60, also died at the scene. Media sources have reported that the shooting was a murder-suicide. Bair apparently knew the other man and the woman.

And one more

April the giraffe gave birth on Saturday as more than 1 million people watched online. The calf, a male, weighed 129 pounds, and was 5 feet 9 inches tall. Mom and baby are said to be doing OK. The calf stood for the first time about 45 minutes after he was born.

In case you missed it

North Korea test launch fails just after regime shows off new missiles

News outlets showed images Saturday of North Korea’s annual celebration of its founder, Kim Il Sung, and the exhibition of a long line of missiles through the streets of Pyongyang.

These, when placed alongside comments made by top official Choe Ryong Hae about the United States asking for “nuclear justice,” were a clear attempt by North Korea to display its military might.

>> Read more trending news

Hours later, this appears to have blown up in North Korea’s face.

According to ABC News, a Defense Department official said a ballistic missile launch “blew up almost immediately.”

“U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 11:21 a.m. Hawaii time April 15. The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo,” U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Cmdr. David Benham said.

>> Some fast facts about North Korea

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that President Donald Trump has been briefed on the failed launch and has no comment at this time.

“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment,” he said.

The kind of missile that was launched is still being determined, though earlier in the day it was speculated that North Korea had developed and was showing off its version of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Some fast facts about North Korea

As tensions ramp up near the Korean Peninsula, here is a primer on North Korea, its leader and its people.

Some facts

The name: North Korea -- or formally, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -- borders China, Russia and South Korea.

Population: 25,115,311 (estimated as of July 2016)

Area: North Korea is a little bigger than Virginia, with 46,000 square miles.

Capital: The capital city is Pyongyang. An interesting fact: Pyongyang runs on its own time zone. It’s about 30 minutes behind Japan and South Korea.

No ties: North Korea does not have diplomatic representation in the United States, nor does the U.S. have diplomatic representation in North Korea.

Median age: North Korea’s median age is estimated to be 33.8 years.

GNP: The gross domestic product, per capita, is $1,800. In the U.S., it’s $51,638.10

Leaders: North Korea is led by Kim Jong-Un. Since 1945, the country has been led by three generations of the same family: Kim Il-Sung, in 1945; then his son, Kim Jong-Il, upon his father’s death in 1994; then the current leader, Kim Jong-Un, upon his father’s death in 2011.

Why are there two Koreas?From 1910 until the end of World War II, Japan controlled the Korean Peninsula. After the Japanese lost the war, the U.S. occupied the southern half of the peninsula and the Russians occupied the north half. 

In 1945, Kim Il-Sung became the country’s first leader. In 1948, separate governments -- one in the north and one in the south -- formed after regional differences went unresolved.

On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. The United Nations intervened with troops, and the “police action” (another name for a war), continued until 1953. 

After a peace treaty was brokered, the country broke into two countries. South Korea becomes a prosperous capitalist nation, while North Korea remains a poor country.

Why are tensions high now?The leaders of the country have vowed to test and threatened to use nuclear weapons. The North Korean military has tested nuclear missiles on at least five occasions -- twice in 2016.

Can they attack nearby countries with nuclear weapons?They can when they make a warhead small enough to be delivered on a missile that is fired at an enemy. North Korea says it has done that, but there has been no verification of that by the U.N. or other countries.

What are their neighbors doing?The U.S. has given South Korea an advanced missile defense system. Japan has put its military on high alert. China, which is an ally of North Korea, has warned North Korean officials to step back from provocative actions.

Interesting facts about the country

  • USA Today reports that North Koreans born after the Korean War tend to be shorter than South Koreans of the same age. About 2 inches shorter, in fact. 
  • According to The Chosun Ilbo, men are encouraged to copy the hairstyle of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un. No long hair. Women should copy the style of his wife, he reportedly said.
  • North Korea claims it has a 100 percent literacy rate for both men and women, according to the CIA World Factbook.
  • Only 3 percent of the roads in North Korea are paved. (CIA World Factbook.)
  • You cannot become a citizen of North Korea unless one of your parents is a citizen. (CIA World Factbook.)
  • The last election was held in the country on March 9, 2014. Kim Jong-Il won 100 percent of the vote. The next one is scheduled for March 2019.
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