Charleston church massacre suspect Dylann Roof on Sunday submitted a handwritten letter to the judge in his murder and hate-crime trial, asking to have his lawyers back after receiving permission last week to represent himself. Roof, 22, asked to have the attorneys represent him during the guilt phase of the trial, scheduled to begin Wednesday, then, if he is found guilty, to let Roof represent himself during the phase when jurors would decide whether to sentence him to death, or life in prison. The self-professed white supremacist is accused of gunning down nine black parishioners at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church last year.
Source: New York Daily News
The death toll from a massive fire that rushed through a warehouse in Oakland, California, during a concert rose to 33 on Sunday, and authorities said it could still go higher as search crews continued to search the scorched structure. Only about 40 percent of the building had been searched by Sunday afternoon, and crews are moving slowly due to the building's instability. The fire is already one of the deadliest in modern California history. "The number will go up," County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ray Kelly said. "Firefighters are tired, exhausted. This is very emotional."
Source: USA Today, Los Angeles Times
At least nine people were killed and 25 more are missing after a massive fire broke out in a warehouse hosting a dance party Friday night in Oakland, California. The fire started around 11:30 p.m. and may be the deadliest blaze in city history. Crowded with a "maze" of artists' workspaces and illegal dwellings, the building had no sprinkler system and smoke detectors did not activate, firefighters said. "It was too hot, too much smoke, I had to get out of there," said Bob Mule, a photographer who escaped the fire with minor burns. "I literally felt my skin peeling and my lungs being suffocated by smoke. I couldn't get the fire extinguisher to work." Authorities say as many as 40 people may be dead, and investigation is slow going thanks to structural instabilities in the warehouse.
Source: East Bay Times, Reuters
The Ohio State University student who carried out a knife attack on campus Monday said in a Facebook post he was "sick and tired" of seeing fellow Muslims "killed and tortured," according to federal law enforcement officials. Investigators are examining Abdul Razak Ali Artan's Facebook page to determine whether the attack was terrorism, though law enforcement officials said it will take time to ascertain motive.
Wisconsin started its presidential election recount on Thursday, soon to be followed by Pennsylvania and Michigan. President-elect Donald Trump won all three states, sealing victory in the Electoral College, after pre-election polls indicated they would go to his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Wisconsin's recount will be the first candidate-requested review of presidential ballots in 16 years, but it was Green Party candidate Jill Stein, not Clinton, who demanded it and offered to foot part of the bill. Trump won by less than a percentage point — about 22,000 votes — in Wisconsin, but almost nobody expects the recounts to give Clinton victory over Trump.
Source: The Associated Press
The death toll from eastern Tennessee's wildfires rose to 11 on Thursday, as emergency crews shifted from a rescue operation to recovery. Wildfires in and near Smoky Mountain National Park have scorched about 17,000 acres, including roughly half of the tourist town of Gatlinburg. About 700 homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed, about 300 in Gatlinburg and 400 in nearby Pigeon Force. Some of the dead were found in burned rental cabins and motels. About 70 people were missing as of late Thursday. Officials say the fire was "likely to be human-caused."
Source: USA Today
President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday that he had chosen retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be his secretary of defense. Mattis, known as "Mad Dog," has a reputation for strong, aggressive thinking, and shares Trump's hardline stance against potential enemies abroad, especially Iran. Mattis, 66, only left the military four years ago, so before he can be confirmed in the job, Congress will need to pass legislation to bypass a law requiring defense secretaries to have been out of uniform for at least seven years. Trump's transition team and Mattis declined to comment. An official announcement could come as soon as next week.
Source: CNN, The Washington Post
Jim Delligatti, inventor of the McDonald's Big Mac, has died at his home in a Pittsburgh suburb. He was 98. Delligatti first served the now-iconic sandwich — two beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a three-layer sesame-seed bun — at his Uniontown, Pennsylvania, McDonald's outlet in 1967. The chain started serving it nationwide the following year. Delligatti said he was just improvising his own version of double-decker sandwiches served elsewhere. "I would never have dreamed that my creation would turn into a piece of Americana," he once said, according to McDonald's.
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Certain numerology has a strong connection with occultism. Various numbers from time-to-time appear in news articles, and one has to wonder if there isn't some occult significance behind this story.