Nation/World Briefs

Georgia sheriff: Officer and suspect dead, deputies wounded

LOCUST GROVE, Ga. (AP) — A police officer whose wife is expecting the couple’s second baby was killed Friday and two deputies were seriously wounded in a shooting that also left a suspect dead south of Atlanta, authorities said.

Henry County Sheriff Keith McBrayer said gunfire broke out as the officers were serving an arrest warrant around 11 a.m. at a home in Locust Grove, about 40 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Locust Grove Mayor Robert Price identified the slain officer as 26-year-old Chase Maddox, who had been with the department since he was 22.

“His wife is expecting their second child any day now, I’m told. We just need a lot of prayers for he and his wife and the baby that’s coming into this world without a daddy because of somebody …” the mayor said, choking up. “We got to pray for the two county officers that’s wounded. One’s not doing so hot and the other is better.”

McBrayer said one deputy was in serious condition and undergoing surgery, and had been hit below the bullet-proof vest. The other was in fair condition, and was hit in the vest. Their names were not immediately released.

He said shots were fired inside the house as the deputies were trying to take a male suspect into custody on a warrant from the municipal court in Locust Grove. McBrayer wouldn’t say who fired first or give other details about how it happened.

The sheriff said that “after about 10 minutes of talking with him realized they were going to be making an arrest, and they were going to have issues placing him in custody.” At that point they called Locust Grove for backup from an officer.

He said they had no reason to believe when they arrived that the suspect would be violent.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate the shootings. GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said the suspect’s relatives were being notified before his name is released.

Snowy Paris gets raves from tourists even with Eiffel closed

PARIS (AP) — Snow and freezing rain pummeled parts of France on Friday, shutting down the Eiffel Tower but covering Paris in a gorgeous coat of white.

The Eiffel Tower, France’s most-visited monument, was closed all day Friday and was staying closed Saturday “to ensure the security of visitors,” the company that manages the 19th-century landmark said.

Workers with hand shovels were carefully clearing snow from the monument’s intricate ironwork and de-icing stairs and platforms. The company said they can’t use salt because it could corrode the Eiffel Tower’s metal and damage its heavily used elevators.

Heavy snowfall earlier this week trapped hundreds of drivers in cars and caused the worst-ever traffic jams in the Paris region. On Friday city authorities asked drivers to stay away.

Yet Friday’s snowfall in the capital was a bit less dramatic and gave way to some fun. Snowboarders glided down the hills of the city’s Montmartre neighborhood as tourists gaped.

“It looks awesome,” said James Geisler, 23, from Davenport, Iowa. “This is my first time in Paris. We planned this trip a while ago and we didn’t know there was going to be this much snow, but it’s beautiful.”

More snow was forecast and authorities warned of dangerous conditions in about one-fourth of the country. But French police, citing improved conditions, on Friday evening lifted the dayslong ban on big rig trucks in the Paris region.

Groping claims sideline California Assembly #MeToo advocate

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia — a #MeToo advocate — took a voluntary unpaid leave of absence Friday, a day after sexual misconduct allegations against her became public.

Garcia, a Democrat, chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus and has been an outspoken ally of the anti-sexual harassment movement sweeping the California Capitol and the nation. She is accused of groping former legislative staff member Daniel Fierro in 2014, an allegation she denies. His claim is under a formal investigation, and Garcia said she is taking a leave to minimize distractions and avoid appearances of exerting influence.

“Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of,” Garcia said in a statement. “However, as I’ve said before, any claims about sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and I believe elected officials should be held to a higher standard of accountability. “

Fierro accused her of stroking his back, grabbing his buttocks and trying to grab his crotch in the dugout after a legislative softball game. An anonymous male lobbyist told Politico on Thursday that Garcia made a crude sexual remark and tried to grab his crotch at a May 2017 fundraiser.

Both the lobbyist and Fierro said Garcia appeared to be drunk at the time of the incidents.

Duterte orders halt to purchases of Canada choppers, US arms

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president on Friday ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar deal to buy 16 helicopters from Canada and said purchases of U.S. arms should also be stopped because of too many imposed conditions, although he said he still supports President Donald Trump.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s order, issued in a news conference, came after the Canadian government decided to review the 12 billion peso ($235 million) helicopter deal due to concerns the Philippine military might use the utility helicopters in counterinsurgency assaults.

Philippine defense officials gave assurances Thursday that the Bell 412EPI helicopters would be used to ferry supplies and troops, including those wounded in combat, and to respond to disasters, and would not be employed to attack insurgents.

Known for his impromptu decisions and public outbursts, Duterte declared in a nationally televised news conference in southern Davao city, his hometown, that he wants the helicopter deal, along with purchases of unspecified U.S. weapons, halted.

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