Nation and World briefs for June 4

Gunman’s resignation email gave no hint of bloodshed to come

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Beach employee who shot and killed 12 people at a municipal building gave no hint of the bloodbath to come when he emailed his resignation letter earlier in the day, saying that he was leaving for “personal reasons” but that “it has been a pleasure to serve.”

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The two-sentence email from DeWayne Craddock, an engineer with the city utilities department, was released Monday.

Craddock, 40, opened fire on his co-workers on Friday, then was killed in a gunbattle with police, leaving no immediate clues to what set him off.

The email read: “I want to officially put in my (2) weeks’ notice to vacant my position of Engineer III with the City of Virginia Beach. It has been a pleasure to serve the City, but due to personal reasons I must relieve my position.”

An unidentified person responded to the email by saying he or she hoped that Craddock would be able to resolve his personal issues and that Craddock’s last day would be Friday, June 14. Craddock responded: “Thank you. Yes, that is correct.”

Ex-governor’s phone seized in Flint water probe

LANSING, Mich. — Authorities investigating Flint’s water crisis have used search warrants to seize from storage the state-owned mobile devices of former Gov. Rick Snyder and 65 other current or former officials, The Associated Press has learned.

The warrants were sought two weeks ago by the attorney general’s office and signed by a Flint judge, according to documents the AP obtained through public records requests.

Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who is helping with the probe, confirmed they executed a series of search warrants related to the criminal investigation of Flint’s lead-contaminated water in 2014-15 and a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

The water crisis in Flint was one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in U.S. history. Untreated water leached lead from pipes and into Flint’s homes and businesses while cost-cutting financial managers — appointed by Snyder — were running the city.

The investigation has led to charges against 15 current or former government officials, including two who served in the Cabinet of Snyder, a Republican who left office in December. But no one is behind bars, and some Flint residents believe key players who could have prevented the lead debacle are getting off easy.

US, Mexico officials to begin talks over tariffs, border

WASHINGTON — Mexico launched a counteroffensive Monday against the threat of U.S. tariffs, warning not only that it would hurt the economies of both countries but also could cause a quarter-million more Central Americans to migrate North.

A high-level delegation from the Mexican government held a press conference at the embassy in Washington, making the case against the threat by President Donald Trump of imposing a 5% tariff on Mexican imports by June 10.

It is unclear what more Mexico can do — and what will be enough — to satisfy the president.

“As a sign of good faith, Mexico should immediately stop the flow of people and drugs through their country and to our Southern Border. They can do it if they want!” Trump tweeted Monday from London.

Trump’s Republican allies warn that tariffs on Mexican imports will hit U.S. consumers and harm the economy.

Sudan troops move to crush pro-democracy camp, killing 30

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan’s ruling military moved to crush the protest movement opposing its grip on power as security forces overran the main sit-in site in the capital early Monday, unleashing furious volleys of gunfire, burning down tents and killing at least 30 people, witnesses and protest leaders said.

With the assault, the generals signaled an end of their tolerance of the pro-democracy demonstrators, who for months have been camped outside the military’s headquarters as the two sides negotiated over who would run the country after the April ouster of longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir.

After they succeeded in forcing the military to remove al-Bashir, the protesters had stayed in the streets, demanding the generals move to the background and allow civilians to lead the transition.

The dispersal of the sit-in now risks escalating violence even further. Scattered by the bloody assault, protesters vowed to keep up their campaign, suspending talks and calling for a general strike and civil disobedience. They urged nighttime marches across the country.

“This is a critical point in our revolution. The military council has chosen escalation and confrontation,” said Mohammed Yousef al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the protests.

Long list of troubled nursing homes revealed by senators

WASHINGTON — The federal government for years has kept under wraps the names of hundreds of nursing homes around the country found by inspectors to have serious ongoing health, safety or sanitary problems.

Nearly 400 facilities nationwide had a “persistent record of poor care” as of April, but they were not included along with a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny and do have warning labels, according to a Senate report released Monday.

Budget cuts appear to be contributing to the problem by reducing money available for the focused inspections that are required for nursing homes on the shorter list, according to documents and interviews.

The secrecy undermines the federal commitment to ensure transparency for families struggling to find nursing homes for loved ones and raises questions about why the names of some homes are not disclosed while others are publicly identified, according to two senators who released the report on Monday.

“We’ve got to make sure any family member or any potential resident of a nursing home can get this information, not only ahead of time but on an ongoing basis,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who along with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., issued the report .

Mutation that protects against HIV raises death rate

NEW YORK — People with a DNA mutation that reduces their chance of HIV infection might die sooner, according to a study that suggests tinkering with a gene to try to fix one problem might cause others.

The study authors cited the case of the Chinese researcher who tried to produce this mutation in twin girls before their birth, to reduce their risk for HIV. His work, which produced the first gene-edited babies, was widely condemned as unethical and risky, and the new paper illustrates one reason for concern.

“You should consider all the effects of mutations you induce,” said Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley, senior author of the paper , released Monday by the journal Nature Medicine.

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Nielsen acknowledged that his result cannot be applied directly to the two girls in China. For one thing, his study focused on a sample of people in the United Kingdom who may have different genetic backgrounds than the Chinese girls.

In addition, the people he studied had inherited a specific mutation. The Chinese scientist tried to create the same mutation, but failed. The girls now carry different alterations in the same gene.

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