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News Brief: Week of Jan. 20-26


Government shutdown temporarily ends

After more than a month of unsuccessful negotiation with Democratic leaders to obtain $5.7 billion for a southern border wall, President Donald Trump on Friday agreed to temporarily reopen the government through Feb. 15.

Trump said the government will either shut down again, or he will bypass Congress and declare a national emergency if he does not receive money to build the wall by Feb. 15. He also guaranteed back pay “very quickly or as soon as possible” for the approximately 800,000 government workers who were furloughed or working without pay for 35 days.

After missing two paychecks, some federal workers began utilizing food pantries and applying for unemployment benefits.

Shootings kill 10 in Southeast

Two separate mass shooting events killed a combined 10 people in the southeast U.S. last week.

On Wednesday, a 21-year-old gunman entered the SunTrust Bank in Sebring, FL, shooting and killing all five people inside. He then proceeded to call 911, stating “I have shot five people,” according to a police statement.

Upon the arrival of law enforcement, the shooter barricaded himself inside the bank. The standoff ended when an armored police vehicle drove through the glass bank doors, and negotiators persuaded the suspect to surrender.

Police are still searching for a motive for what they described as a “senseless murder.”

On Saturday, police say 21-year-old Dakota Theriot shot and killed his 20-year-old girlfriend, her 43-year-old father and her 17-year-old brother in the town of Livingston Parish, LA. He then drove thirty miles south to the town of Gonzales and shot both of his parents. Police say the parents were alive and able to identify their son as the shooter when they arrived at the scene.

Theriot then drove 16 hours to Warsaw, VA, where his grandmother resides. Two sheriff’s deputies stationed outside of her home arrested Theriot on suspicion of five counts of first-degree murder.

Roger Stone indicted

Roger Stone, a longtime political advisor and friend to President Trump, was indicted Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of an ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The charges center around false statements Stone is accused of making to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Stone was arrested by FBI officials at his Ft. Lauderdale, FL, home early Friday morning. After making a brief court appearance and posting $250,000 bail, Stone organized a press conference on Friday afternoon, where he said he was “falsely accused of making false statements.”

Trump weighed in on the arrest via Twitter, calling the Mueller investigation “The Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country.”


OU students hold anti-racism march

Several hundred University of Oklahoma students gathered Thursday for a “Better Together” anti-racism march, protesting two blackface instances, which occurred on campus over a span of less than a week.

Organized by members of OU’s Black Student Association (BSA), the march began silent, with some students covering their mouths with duct tape. The second half of the rally was louder, as students chanted for unity on campus.

Members and allies of the BSA, who say President Jim Gallogly and his administration have not done enough to address the incidents, marched to the president’s office to deliver a list of demands. He was not in his office.

On Friday, Gallogly announced he and a team of administrators will review the Student Code of Conduct in response to the blackface incidents.   

Four killed in apartment fire

A woman and her three children died early Sunday morning in a Northwest Oklahoma City apartment fire.

The fire started at Quail Ridge Apartments, 13300 Plaza Terrace, at approximately 2:50 a.m., according to Oklahoma City Fire Department officials. Twenty apartments sustained smoke and fire damage.

A man who jumped off a second-floor balcony told fire officials his girlfriend and her children were not able to escape. Firefighters found these three, as well as a third child, dead once the flames were extinguished.


Cafeteria hours changing

The cafeteria now has new Saturday hours, according to a message from U Dining sent in campus announcements.

Due to student response, the cafeteria will no longer serve breakfast on Saturday mornings, but will open for brunch from 10 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. The decision was made based on student requests and survey results, according to the announcement.

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