• ABC News(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof stopped at another AME church on the night of the shooting massacre, ABC News affiliate WCIV reported Tuesday, citing newly released court documents.After the attack on June 17, 2015 that left nine black worshipers dead, Roof left Emanuel AME Church and traveled west to the Branch AME Church, according to WCIV, which cited GPS data that was not presented in court during his trial.Roof, an avowed white supremacist, told FBI officials that he was too tired after the attack at the Emanuel AME church to continue shooting, according to the WCIV report.Jurors Cry as Victims' Families Share Stories of LossBranch AME, located about 30 minutes away from Emanuel, also holds a Bible study class on Wednesday night, the WCIV report said.Defense attorneys argued previously that there was no evidence to suggest that he planned to carry out a second church attack.Roof, 22, was sentenced to death last month in a federal trial for the 2015 massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A statewide downpour brought chaos to Californians this week, but it also provided some welcome relief to the state's 20 million residents who have suffered from drought conditions for more than four years.The record precipitation now has some experts declaring the drought over.The beginningThe drought began in 2012, but California Gov. Jerry Brown did not declare a drought state of emergency until January 2014. A response team was later established, and state lawmakers have allocated over $3 billion for drought relief and water management improvements.The U.S. Geological Survey said 2014 was the warmest year on record for California.According to Park Williams, a climate scientist and an assistant professor at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the drought was exacerbated by high temperatures."These last five years in California were much warmer than you'd expect just based on the drought alone, and the reason is because the globe's overall temperature has been warming," he told ABC News. "California's relationship with water is one where they either have too much or too little. So California goes through swings very rapidly. That's what made this drought in California so rare ... [it's] very rare to get five dry years in a row."He added, "Global warming did not cause this drought but nevertheless had a measuring amplifying effect."Record rain this weekFlooding warnings were in effect Tuesday in Northern and Central California after storms wreaked havoc on the Golden State last weekend.In Modesto, police went door to door evacuating residents as floodwaters rose. In San Jose, firefighters jumped on inflatable rafts to rescue two people trapped by a roaring river.More than 2 inches of rain were recorded at the San Francisco International Airport on Monday. Since October, San Francisco has seen 25.6 inches of rain — nearly 2 inches more than the city usually gets in an entire year.This extreme weather in Northern California came after powerful rain moved its way up the California coast; the rain first pounded San Diego and Los Angeles, stranding drivers in their cars and contributing to the deaths of least five people.Is California's drought over?The latest drought outlook from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center "shows drought in Southern California likely to resolve and drought in the Central Coast region of California as persistent but improving."After this incredibly wet winter, Williams said, he considers the drought over; trees that survived the drought will likely begin recovering, and lakes are near capacity, he explained.Michael Dettinger, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist and a researcher at the University of California at San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, agrees with Williams' assessment."I believe that the drought is over at this point," he told ABC News. "If groundwater levels were lower than they should be because of the drought, then we wouldn't need to say it's over. But groundwater levels are down because of overpumping that's been going on ... for 50 to 70 years. To me, that's not drought — that's just a long-term imbalance of how we use water."David Feldman, a UC Irvine professor of planning, policy and design, said he won't know if the drought is over until May, when the state's rainy season ends."If I were regulator working for the state water board, I'd probably lean on the conservative side," he said.He added, "Things can dry out quickly. You can have a warm spell. You can have a warm period that melts snowpack in the [Sierra Nevada]. I think in May they'll have a good sense of if we can declare this thing over."The impactWilliams considers groundwater pumping — pulling water out of the ground, much of it by farmers so their crops can grow in dry conditions — a major issue in droughts.Groundwater is "essentially taking away from future water reserves to survive this current drought," he sai
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  • Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — On the eve of the deadline for anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protesters to vacate camps in North Dakota, the company in charge of construction said in a court filing on Tuesday that oil could start flowing in as early as two weeks, beating previous estimates.Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of the pipeline whose construction has sparked protests since last August over its location, said in the filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that the company "estimates and targets that the pipeline will be complete and ready to flow oil anywhere between the week of March 6, 2017 and April 1, 2017."The court filing was required as part of an ongoing legal battle that is challenging the construction at the site by Lake Oahe.North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum last week called for the Oceti Sakowin protest camp — located on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation — to be evacuated by Wednesday, Feb. 23., claiming ecological damage at the camp and rising post-winter floodwaters.The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which is part of the Great Sioux Nation, has joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit against the pipeline, filing a motion at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Feb. 9 seeking a temporary restraining order “to halt construction and drilling” under and on either side of the land surrounding the lake.The tribe argued that the pipeline “will desecrate the waters upon which Cheyenne River Sioux tribal members rely for their most important religious practices and therefore substantially burden the free exercise of their religion,” according to a court document obtained by ABC News.Last Monday, the court denied that motion seeking a temporary restraining order. On Tuesday, the pipeline company said that the Cheyenne River Sioux legal claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act "has no chance of success on the merits."The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe filed a separate motion seeking a preliminary injunction directing the Army Corps to withdraw the easement issued to the pipeline company on Feb. 8. The tribe alleges that the easement granted is “entirely unlawful," according to court documents. A further hearing on the Cheyenne River Sioux's motion for a preliminary injunction against the pipeline is set for Feb. 27 in Washington, D.C.After receiving the easement to build the pipeline across land on both sides of Lake Oahe, Energy Transfer Partners announced it would resume construction immediately, and indeed work has resumed.The Dakota Access Pipeline, which would connect oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal near Patoka, Illinois.The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been at the forefront of massive and prolonged protests over the four-state crude oil pipeline. The demonstrations have drawn thousands of Native Americans, environmental activists and their allies to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation.Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, has said that “concerns about the pipeline’s impact on local water supply are unfounded” and “multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.”In the final days of President Barack Obama’s administration, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, announced on Dec. 4 that an easement would not be granted for the pipeline to cross under the large reservoir on the Missouri River.The move to deny the easement was hailed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other pipeline opponents as a major victory. But on his second weekday in office, President Trump signed a memorandum aimed at advancing the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as one directed at the Keystone XL pipeline.  Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Northampton Police Department(NORTHHAMPTON, Mass.) — A Massachusetts police department said it ended a program that aimed to "positively engage" with elementary school students after residents raised concerns that it may scare children who've had negative experiences with police.The Northampton Police Department said it decided to scrap its High Five Friday program, which kicked off in December, after residents said that some children — particularly minorities and undocumented immigrants — may be uncomfortable with uniformed police officers greeting them at school in the morning.Ninety percent of Northampton's approximately 30,000 residents, though, are white, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.“Concerns were shared that some kids might respond negatively to a group of uniformed officers at their school,” the police department said in a post on its Facebook page last week. "People were specifically concerned about kids of color, undocumented children, or any children who may have had negative experiences with the police."
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  • instagram/Vitoria Londero (NEW YORK) -- A banner that read "Refugees Welcome" was unfurled atop the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday.
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  • Michael Dodge/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The pilot of a plane that crashed into an Australian shopping center called "mayday" several times before the crash on Tuesday, authorities said.The pilot did not specify the nature of the emergency before the twin-engine Beechcraft crashed near Melbourne, killing four American tourists, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a press conference Wednesday morning local time.Portions of the aircraft are still on the roof of the shopping center and in the parking lot, ATSB officials said. Investigators have completed of sweet of the runway for plane parts. Officials are also interviewing people who were on the runway at the time of the ill-dated takeoff, including pilots who also fly the Beechcraft and may have some helpful observations as to what they dash.The crash was also documented on dashcam video, which investigators are looking into for clues.The sister of one of four Americans killed when remembered her brother as "handsome" and "athletic.""Dear friends and family, my handsome athletic big brother was killed Tuesday in a plane accident while on his 'once in a lifetime' trip to Australia. It was a charter flight with 2 of his friends flying to another island to play golf," Denelle Wicht, the sister of Greg Reynolds De Haven, wrote on Facebook.Wicht told ABC News that her brother was traveling in a group, and that the husbands had split up with their wives for the day. She said that the group had been traveling for two weeks before the accident took place."Greg was on a vacation trip with a group of friends and wives. They were to spend three weeks in Australia, and I think they were there for two weeks plus when this happened. The group was spending the day going separate ways, there are other wives who lost their husbands. So so sad. Such a great guy," Wicht said in a Facebook message.The plane had taken off from Essendon Airport around 9 a.m. local time and suffered a "catastrophic engine failure" in the air, according to Victoria Police assistant commissioner Stephen Leane.The pilot attempted to return to the airport and crashed into the DFO shopping center, Leane said. There were no fatalities on the ground, he added.A State Department official confirmed that four U.S. citizens were aboard the flight. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who died in Tuesday’s tragic crash," the official said.Victoria's premier, Daniel Andrews, called the incident the “worst civil aviation accident in our state” in 30 years.The identities of those who died and the nationality of the fifth victim were not immediately known.“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who died in [Tuesday’s] tragic crash," a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Canberra said. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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