Nation and World briefs for April 13

Child attack suspect had previous Mall of America arrests

MINNEAPOLIS — A 5-year-old boy plummeted three floors Friday after being pushed or thrown from a balcony at the Mall of America, according to witnesses, and a 24-year-old man with a history of causing disturbances at the mall was in custody.

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Bloomington Police Chief Jeffrey Potts said police don’t think there is any relationship between the man and the family of the child, who suffered life-threatening injuries. He was being treated at a hospital, but no details on his condition were immediately available.

Witnesses told police that the child may have been pushed or thrown from the mall’s third level to the first floor, Potts said. He said the suspect immediately took off running but was quickly found and arrested at the mall.

A witness said a woman screamed that her child was thrown from the balcony.

Brian Johnson told WCCO-TV the woman was screaming, “Everybody pray, everybody pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge.”

New ‘Star Wars’ film promises ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

“No one is ever really gone,” says the voice of Luke Skywalker in the first teaser trailer for “Star Wars: Episode IX,” which audiences finally learned will be called “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” Friday at a fan event in Chicago.

The closely guarded film from director J.J. Abrams will put an end to the Skywalker saga that began over 40 years ago, but even as characters and actors have passed on, the footage shown at Star Wars Celebration suggests that as with all “Star Wars” films, death is just a technicality a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Mark Hamill’s Skywalker may have died at the end of the most recent installment but his voice dominates the teaser trailer, telling someone, possibly Daisy Ridley’s Rey, that, “this is your fight now.” And audiences got a tantalizing tease from another figure from the past: Emperor Palpatine from the original and prequel trilogies, whose ominous laugh closes out the promotional spot.

Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa is back as well, despite the actress’s untimely passing in Dec. 2016, thanks to unused footage from “The Force Awakens” which Abrams was able to craft into its own narrative for this new film.

“You can’t just recast and you can’t just have her disappear,” Abrams said. “The idea of having a CG character wasn’t even an option.”

FCC to hold big 5G auction, spend $20B for rural internet

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government will hold a massive auction later this year to bolster 5G service , the next generation of mobile networks. President Donald Trump showcased the announcement Friday, declaring that the race to stand up these faster, more powerful networks is a competition “America must win.”

“We cannot allow any other country to outcompete the United States in this powerful industry of the future,” Trump said at the White House. “We are leading by so much in so many different industries of that type, and we just can’t let that happen.”

Trump also announced a $20 billion plan to expand broadband access to rural areas currently without it, a decadelong extension of an existing program.

5G will mean faster wireless speeds and has implications for technologies like self-driving cars and augmented reality. Trump said it will transform the way people work, learn, communicate and travel, making farms more productive, manufacturers more competitive and health care better and more accessible. But experts say it’s hard to know now how much life will actually change because of the much-hyped network upgrade.

It will take years to roll out, and the highest data speeds and capacities may not reach rural areas at all.

Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings

BEIRUT — It’s Arab Spring, season II, and he’s one of the few holdovers. The last man standing among a crop of Arab autocrats, after a new wave of protests forced the removal of the Algerian and Sudanese leaders from the posts they held for decades.

Syria’s President Bashar Assad has survived an uprising, a years-long ruinous war and an Islamic “caliphate” established over parts of his broken country. As the Syrian conflict enters its ninth year, the 53-year-old leader appears more secure and confident than at any time since the revolt against his rule began in 2011.

But the war for Syria is not over yet, and the path ahead is strewn with difficulties.

The back-to-back ouster of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after two decades of rule and Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir after three, has been dubbed a “second Arab Spring,” after the 2011 wave of protests that shook the Middle East and deposed longtime dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

Social media has been filled with pictures of leaders at past Arab summits, noting almost all of them were now deposed except for Assad. Some pointed out ironically that al-Bashir’s last trip outside of Sudan in December was to Damascus, where he met with the Syrian leader.

Test taker pleads guilty in college admissions bribery scam

BOSTON — A former Florida prep school administrator pleaded guilty Friday to taking college entrance exams for students in exchange for cash to help wealthy parents get their kids into elite universities.

Mark Riddell admitted to secretly taking the ACT and SAT in place of students, or correcting their answers, as part of a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme, which has ensnared celebrities, business executives and athletic coaches at sought-after schools such as Stanford and Yale.

Riddell, who has been cooperating with authorities since February in the hopes of getting a lesser sentence, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges.

The 36-year-old, wearing a dark suit and glasses, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen explained that prosecutors will seek a sentence at the low end of the guidelines, which call for 33 to 41 months in prison. Riddell’s lawyer declined comment and Riddell left the courthouse without answering questions from reporters.

He said in a statement last month that he is “profoundly sorry” and takes full responsibility for his actions.

Fisher-Price recalls sleepers after more than 30 babies died

NEW YORK — Fisher-Price recalled nearly 5 million infant sleepers on Friday after more than 30 babies died in them over a 10-year period.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said anyone who bought a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper should stop using it right away and contact Fisher-Price for a refund or voucher. The sleepers, which are used to put babies to sleep, are soft padded cradles that vibrate.

Fisher-Price and the CPSC said the deaths occurred after infants rolled over from their backs to their stomachs or sides while unrestrained, but did not specify how they died. In an article this week, Consumer Reports found that some of the infants died from suffocation.

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A safety warning was issued last week, but The American Academy of Pediatrics urged Fisher-Price and the CPSC to recall the sleepers, calling them “deadly.”

In a statement Friday, Fisher-Price said that it stood by the safety of its products and said it issued the voluntary recall “due to reported incidents in which the product was used contrary to the safety warnings and instructions.”

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