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Nation and World briefs for October 31

Trumps pay tribute at synagogue where 11 were fatally shot

PITTSBURGH — One stone and one white rosebud for each victim.

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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.

Migrant caravan demands transport as 2nd group enters Mexico

NILTEPEC, Mexico — More than 1,000 people in a second migrant caravan that forged its way across the river from Guatemala began walking through southern Mexico on Tuesday and reached the city of Tapachula — some 250 miles behind a larger group and more than 1,000 miles from the closest U.S. border.

Gerbert Hinestrosa, 54, a straw-hatted migrant from Santa Barbara, Honduras, was traveling with his wife and teenage son in the newest group. Hinestrosa said he realized how hard it would be to reach his goal.

“Right now I feel good,” he said. “We have barely started, but I think it is going to be very difficult.”

Members of the latest caravan say they aren’t trying to catch up with the first because they believe it has been too passive and they don’t want to be controlled. The activist group Pueblo Sin Fronteras has been accompanying the first group and trying to help it organize.

The first, larger caravan of about 4,000 mainly Honduran migrants passed through Tapachula about 10 days ago and set up camp Tuesday in the Oaxaca state city of Juchitan, which was devastated by an earthquake in September 2017.

Whitey Bulger, Boston gangster, found slain in prison at 89

BOSTON — James “Whitey” Bulger, the murderous Boston gangster who benefited from a corrupt relationship with the FBI before spending 16 years as one of America’s most wanted men, was slain in federal prison. He was 89.

Bulger was found unresponsive Tuesday morning at the U.S. penitentiary in West Virginia where he’d just been transferred, and a medical examiner declared him dead shortly afterward, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Authorities did not immediately release a cause of death, but Justin Tarovisky, a prison union official, told The Associated Press it was being investigated as a homicide.

Bulger, the model for Jack Nicholson’s ruthless crime boss in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie, “The Departed,” led a largely Irish mob that ran loan-sharking, gambling and drug rackets. He also was an FBI informant who ratted on the New England mob, his gang’s main rival, in an era when bringing down the Mafia was a top national priority for the FBI.

Bulger’s rap sheet started as a juvenile, and he spent three years in Alcatraz, the infamous island prison off San Francisco.

Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after his FBI handler, John Connolly Jr., warned him he was about to be indicted. With a $2 million reward on his head, Bulger became one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” criminals, with a place just below Osama bin Laden.

Mueller refers plot to make false claims about him to FBI

WASHINGTON — Robert Mueller’s office has referred to the FBI allegations that women were “offered money to make false claims” about the special counsel, according to Mueller’s spokesman.

In a statement, spokesman Peter Carr says that once the office learned of the allegations, it immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.

The statement didn’t specify what the claims were, but the referral to the FBI — and a rare public statement about it from the special counsel’s office — suggests that Mueller’s office believed there was a potential crime for federal law enforcement to investigate.

The attempt to spread what Mueller’s office says are false claims about him also appears to be an effort to discredit the former FBI director as his team enters a critical stage of its investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president attempted to obstruct justice.

Mueller’s office has charged 32 people so far, with four former associates of the president pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate with investigators. A grand jury in recent weeks has heard testimony centered on another former Trump aide, Roger Stone.

CNN goes after Trump in wake of explosive devices

NEW YORK — CNN’s management has taken an aggressive stance against attacks from President Donald Trump after the network was sent explosive devices from a man who allegedly targeted Trump’s perceived enemies.

In a statement, CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker was critical of the White House’s “complete lack of understanding about the seriousness” of its attacks against the media, and it was followed up by another statement this week calling on Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to understand that “words matter.”

The network has responded to specific provocations in the past. Yet it’s still considered unusual for a news organization, as opposed to an individual commentator or columnist, to take on a president. It’s the first time Zucker has done so this year.

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Two of its former leaders applauded the approach on Tuesday.

“When it happens to you, it’s difficult to maintain a veneer of objectivity and restraint,” said Jonathan Klein, CNN president from 2004 to 2010. “It wouldn’t make sense for them not to respond in this way. The bomber had ‘CNN sucks’ stickers on his van and it’s clear who has been pushing that idea.”