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10 things you need to know today: November 7, 2017

Trump urges North Korea to 'come to the table,' threatening texts suggest a motive behind Texas church massacre, and more


Trump urges North Korea to 'come to the table'

President Trump started his visit to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday by calling for North Korea to "come to the table" and "make a deal" to curb its nuclear weapons program. The statement marked a shift from the tough stance reflected in other recent statements toward Pyongyang, including Trump's threat to unleash "fire and fury" on the North if it threatens the U.S. or its allies. "Ultimately, it'll all work out," Trump said, noting he had seen "a lot of progress" regarding North Korea lately. During Trump's first day in South Korea, his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, said the two leaders had "agreed to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue in peaceful manner" to "bring permanent peace" to the peninsula.


Threatening texts suggest possible motive behind Texas church massacre

The Texas church gunman, identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, had sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, who attended the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs where he killed 26 people, authorities said Monday. The threats indicated that the massacre stemmed from a domestic dispute, rather than racial or religious motives. Kelley's grandmother-in-law was among the dead; his mother-in-law was not in the church. The 26 people killed ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years, and the church pastor's 14-year-old daughter was among the dead. "Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners. We were a very close family," said the pastor's wife, Sherri Pomeroy, who was out of town with her husband during the attack. "Now most of our church family is gone."


Air Force neglected paperwork that would have barred killer from buying guns

The Air Force said Monday that it had failed to enter the 2012 domestic violence conviction of Devin Patrick Kelley, who shot and killed 26 people at a Texas church on Sunday, into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to prevent him from legally buying guns. Under federal law, his conviction disqualified him from possessing firearms, but he managed to purchase four guns starting in 2014, after his conviction and discharge. The weapons he bought included the assault-style rifle and two handguns he had when he attacked the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said officials have ordered a review of how his conviction was handled by the Special Investigations Office at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.


Report: GOP tax bill would raise taxes for 12 percent of Americans

The House Republicans' tax bill would increase taxes for 12 percent of Americans in 2018 and at least 28 percent by 2027, according to a report by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center released Monday. Many people making less than $48,000 a year would be among those paying more. Most taxpayers would get a break, with those making $48,000 to $86,000 getting an average cut of $700 in 2018. The rich, however, would reap far greater benefits. For example, the top 1 percent (making more than $730,000) would save $37,000 next year. The top 0.1 percent (with incomes of more than $3.4 million) would get cuts averaging $179,000. "The largest cuts in terms of dollars and as a percentage of after-tax income would accrue to the higher-income households," TPC wrote.


NYPD detectives accused of raping teen in custody resign

Two New York City police detectives accused of raping a teenager in custody have resigned, the New York Police Department said Monday. The former detectives — Eddie Martins, 37, and Richard Hall, 33 — face criminal charges and could be targeted with a $50 million lawsuit. The 18-year-old woman said the men raped her while she was in a police van, handcuffed, after the former officers pulled her over and arrested her for drug possession. Martins and Hall resigned three days before a departmental trial that would have resulted in recommendations on their fate. New York City Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill said he would have fired the men if they had been found guilty.


Saudi Arabia accuses Iran and Lebanon of starting a war

Saudi Arabia on Monday accused Iran of committing "a blatant act of military aggression" by supplying its allies in Yemen with a missile they fired at Riyadh, the Saudi capital, over the weekend. The Saudi statement said the missile strike amounted to an "act of war" that would justify retaliation. The rocket was fired from Yemen and intercepted before it reached Riyadh. Saudi Arabia also accused Lebanon on Monday of declaring war through aggression by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. Lebanon has been drawn deeper into Saudi Arabia's regional rivalry with Iran since its prime minister, Saudi ally Saad al-Hariri, abruptly announced his resignation on Saturday, accusing Iran and Hezbollah of destabilizing the region and plotting his assassination.


Jury starts deliberating in Sen. Robert Menendez's corruption trial

The jury in Sen. Robert Menendez's (D-N.J.) corruption trial began deliberating on Monday after prosecutors and defense attorneys gave their closing arguments. Menendez's attorney, Abbe Lowell, said the senator and his co-defendant, eye doctor Salomon Melgen, had a deep and abiding friendship, and the lavish trips Menendez took courtesy of Salomon were a reflection of that relationship, not evidence of influence peddling. Prosecutor Peter Koski said Menendez's lawyers used "sleight of hand" to make Menendez's misuse of his office to help a friend and donor with his business interests look innocent.


Governor races in Virginia and New Jersey top Tuesday elections

Voters in Virginia and New Jersey are picking new governors on Tuesday, the headline races in an off-year election cited as a possible early referendum on the Trump presidency. The elections include a race to fill Rep. Jason Chaffetz's (R) seat in Utah's 3rd congressional district, New York's mayor's office, and a state race that will determine party control of Washington State's Senate. In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy holds a double-digit lead over Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R), but the race in Virginia between Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie is close. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is expected to win re-election, and Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) is ahead in the Utah race against Democrat Kathie Allen.


FSU president temporarily suspends fraternities and sororities after student's death

Florida State University President John Thrasher on Monday suspended all fraternities and sororities on campus in response to the Friday death of Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge. Coffey was found unresponsive after an off-campus party. In an unrelated case, Phi Delta Theta fraternity member Garrett John Marcy, 20, was arrested Monday on charges of selling and trafficking in cocaine. "I want to send a strong message that we have a serious problem and we have to deal with it," Thrasher said. He also imposed an alcohol ban at all events held by registered student organizations during the interim suspension period.


Report: Weinstein hired security firms to keep allegations quiet

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein hired corporate spies to gather information on women accusing him of sexual harassment and journalists working to expose the allegations in an attempt to suppress the story, The New Yorker reported Monday, citing documents and seven people involved in the effort. An operative from Black Cube, a company run largely by former Israeli intelligence officers, pretended to be a women's rights activist in meetings aiming to get information from actress Rose McGowan, who later publicly accused Weinstein of rape, and also met with a journalist while posing as a victim to find out which accusers were talking with reporters. A Black Cube contract signed in July stated that the operation's goal was to prevent the publication of the allegations.


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