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The message delivered at 9:47 a.m. Wednesday came after news broke of yet another killing of a black man by a white police officer. Philando Castile was killed in the front seat of his car after being pulled over for a broken taillight outside Minneapolis.
The message from the African American Defense League left little up for interpretation.
“The Pig has shot and killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana!: You and I know what we must do and I don’t mean marching, making a lot of noise, or attending conventions. We must “Rally The Troops!” It is time to visit Louisiana and hold a barbeque. The highlight of our occasion will be to sprinkle Pigs Blood!”
The apparent author of that post, Mauricelm-Lei Millere, has so far not responded to CNN’s request for comment. But from his Facebook page, CNN has discovered the killer of five Dallas police officers had visited and “liked” the AADL’s site.
Micah Johnson‘s online history shows he followed dozens of sites that focused on injustices committed on the black community. He visited and liked several websites dedicated to Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers, along with the Nation of Islam and the Black Riders Liberation Party, two groups the Southern Poverty Law Center considers hate groups.
One friend who spoke to CNN said Johnson was obsessed with the plight of blacks in the United States and would repeatedly watch the now 25-year-old videotaped beating of Rodney King.
“He was an expert on the history of the Martin Luther King assassination,” the friend said. “And he studied Malcolm X.”
The friend, who did not want to be named, also said Johnson had issues controlling his temper. “He was a good black man with a little bit of an anger problem.”
Those who study the online radicalization of terrorists are seeing a similar pattern in the story of Johnson, a young man who may have been searching for identity and internalizing the hate and anger he was reading online.
“Extremist groups generally use propaganda in the hopes of influencing people,” said J.M. Berger of the George Washington University Program on Extremism. “They are trying to encourage lone wolf attacks where someone will carry out an attack in the name of the ideology they believe in but not have any connection to the organization that is promoting the ideology.”
Berger said it’s a pattern that began with white supremacist groups 30 or 40 years ago. Terrorist groups like ISIS have taken the tactic online to social media. Now there is a concern groups considered black nationalist hate groups are employing the same tactics, and possibly inciting the same lone wolf style of violence.
“It’s not clear that they are pursuing that as an organized strategy. But certainly they are putting out incendiary content and if someone who is inclined toward violence is reading that, they may fixate on that content as a reason to take action,” Berger said.
One of those incendiary messages was posted then quickly deleted by the African American Defense League Thursday: “…calling on the gangs across the nation! Attack everything in blue…”
We may never know what, if any, online messages inspired or incited Johnson to attack Dallas police, but Berger said it’s not insignificant that he showed affinity for this material.
On Thursday, the FBI sent a nationwide bulletin to law enforcement warning of online messaging that could inspire attacks against police. In the several-page warning, the FBI showed violent messaging that included the graphic depiction of a police officer’s throat being cut.
Tom Fuentes, a former associate director with the FBI, said the messages and those behind them should be treated the same way the federal government investigates ISIS.
“It’s no different than the ISIS propaganda that goes out,” Fuentes said. “And the question
for law enforcement is where do you draw the line between free speech and something else? If a message is espousing someone to take action, even if they inspire one guy to strike out, isn’t that enough?”
Fuentes said the FBI keeps track of hate groups online with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center. But because the groups are mostly run by U.S. citizens, the FBI has larger barriers to what and how it can monitor groups protected by the right to free speech.
Fuentes said it’s a fine line and “some of these groups seem to be walking right up to that line.”
After the shootings and the death of Johnson, one of those Facebook sites devoted to the teachings of Elijah Mohammed took a page form the online playbook of ISIS and made the Dallas cop killer a martyr.
The site posted Johnson’s photo with the message, “R.I.P.” for the man who “stood up to injustice.”

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ORLANDO — Supporters of Bernie Sanders came up short in a fight to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Democratic Party platform, a short-term victory for the Obama administration that could spark another fight at the national convention this month.

By a vote of 116 to 64, the platform committee approved language — critical of “trade agreements that do not support good American jobs,” but evasive on TPP — that had been hammered out by labor groups that supported Hillary Clinton. Seventy-two of the platform committee members were Sanders supporters, meaning that eight of them used their secret ballot to cast a unity vote instead of backing Sanders’s position.

They were encouraged to do so by labor leaders, who did not mention that an anti-TPP vote would embarrass President Obama — an argument that had succeeded in blocking anti-TPP language at the last meeting of the platform drafting committee. Instead, they said that the compromise language did plenty to blunt Republican efforts to run on trade.

“We take what Trump has used as a soundbite, and we turn it into a standard,” said American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten.

“The trade union movement does not take a back seat to anybody regarding its opposition to bad trade deals,” said Lee Saunders, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the sponsor of the compromise language.

Sanders’s forces, in the committee and in rows of seats set up for non-voting spectators, found that case to be wanting. They made the campaign against TPP the focal point of this weekend’s debate, organizing delegates and representing the 800,000 anti-TPP signatures Sanders’s campaign had obtained with stacks of cardboard boxes.

Sanders delegates currently delivering 700,000 anti #TPP signatures to Democratic platform meeting. Heating up pic.twitter.com/oGuY9jp0WL

— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) July 9, 2016

When it came time to fight, the Sanders forces tried two tactics. The first was an amendment to the compromise plank, tweaking it to say “and that’s why we oppose the TPP.” The second was a separate amendment that would have put the party on record against a TPP vote this year.

With 90 delegates supportive of Clinton, 72 supportive of Sanders, and 25 uncommitted to any candidate, they hoped that at least a few Clinton supporters would see the merits of opposing TPP, a position Clinton herself came to adopt during the primaries.

“We’ve had no speech in favor of TPP, but we can’t bring ourselves to say that we oppose TPP?” asked an incredulous Robert Kraig, a Sanders delegate from Wisconsin.

Ben Jealous, the former NAACP president who introduced the brief amendment to the compromise language, argued that the Democratic Party would give away an electoral advantage if it was too slippery about trade. He warned that Republicans were likely to reflect Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric, and oppose the TPP in their own platform, creating an opening for the GOP  –“a Republican opponent who intends to run clearly against bad trade deals” — that had never existed before.

“The majority of Democrats, like the majority of Americans, are against the TPP,” said Jealous. “Hillary is against the TPP. Bernie is against the TPP. Let’s not be bureaucrats – let’s be leaders.”

Jealous’s amendment failed, winning just 74 votes, as cries of “shame!” and “you’re giving Trump the vote!” arose from the back of the room.

“We all have to go home tomorrow and face our neighbors and tell them what we did to protect their jobs,” said Carli Stevenson, a Sanders delegate and platform committee member from Indiana, who reminded the room of how powerful the trade issue had been there. “The best way to do that, and to leave no doubt, is to say that the Democratic Party opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership.”

The defeat of Jealous’s amendment made it clear that the Sanders forces would lose on every trade question. Some of the observers turned their backs, and held their thumbs down, out of disgust for what had just happened.

“This is the Clinton campaign in a nutshell — surreptitious, and always with an agenda,” said environmental activist Anthony Rodgers Wright. “I didn’t really have much hope that the corporate wing of the Democratic Party would want to take a stand.”

The vote on the amendment to deny any TPP vote in Congress went forward anyway. Jim Hightower, the progressive commentator and Sanders delegate from Texas, warned committee members that failing to go on the record would help Trump’s campaign.

“He is gonna hammer Hillary mercilessly on the wimpy language in her platform,” said Hightower. “I offer this amendment as a form of political viagra.”

The Hightower amendment quickly went down to defeat, with 71 committee members in support and 104 opposed. A small group of observers then walked out of the room, yelling “sell out!” Richard Hillwig, who had come wearing a T-shirt with the Green Party’s logo, said that the party had lost him for good.

“I voted for Obama twice, but I’m never voting for a corporate candidate again,” he said.

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The Chinese jets came within 50 feet of the American aircraft at one point, the official said.
The incident took place on Tuesday.
“We have made progress reducing risk between our operational forces and those of the People’s Republic of China by improved dialogue at multiple levels under the bilateral Confidence Building Measures and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said.
“Over the past year, we have seen improvements in PRC actions, flying in a safe and professional manner,” he said. “We are addressing the issue through the appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”
A separate defense official told CNN this type of incident is not something the U.S. military frequently sees in that region with Chinese aircraft. Incidents with Russian aircraft in the Black Sea that have been well documented over the past year are much more common.
This is an incident that “definitely has people’s attention” at the Pentagon, the second official said.
“This is potentially part of a disturbing trend line as the Chinese try to push their military envelope into greater parts of the sea surrounding their mainland,” Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat who serves on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Murphy said that it is important that the U.S. does not overreact to these types of occurrences, which have recently involved Chinese and Russian militaries.
“What the Chinese and the Russians are trying to do is to provoke us into some kind of action that will feed into their domestic narratives, both in China and in Russia,” Murphy said.

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WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Hillary Clinton came to campaign in coal country — and she had her feet held to the fire.

As Mrs. Clinton stepped onto the sidewalk on Monday to tour a health and wellness center here, a crowd of protesters stood in the rain, many of them holding signs supporting the leading Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump, and chanted, “Go home!”

Later, when Mrs. Clinton sat down with residents to discuss health care and other issues affecting the community and coal miners in particular, the chants of the protesters outside could still be heard.

“No matter what they might be saying out there, they have a friend,” Senator Joe Manchin III, who accompanied Mrs. Clinton, told the panel participants.

But not everyone was buying it.

“Supporting her hurts you,” Bo Copley, a 39-year-old father who tearfully explained that he had lost his job in the coal industry and who struggled to support his family, pointedly told Mr. Manchin.

Mr. Copley then raised a topic with Mrs. Clinton that appeared to be on many of the protesters’ minds (and signs): a remark she made to CNN in March, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” How could she say that and now say she wanted to help West Virginians? he asked.

Republicans seized on the remarks — which Mrs. Clinton made in the context of creating clean-energy jobs in areas of the country that had previously depended on coal — and blasted them out as evidence that a Hillary Clinton presidency would hurt coal country. America Rising, an anti-Clinton “super PAC,” called the comments a “brazen disregard for the men and women who help power America.”

Mrs. Clinton told Mr. Copley, whose wife, Lauren, sat next to him at the round table, that her statement in the CNN town hall-style forum “was totally taken out of context” and explained that she had presented a plan to help coal country last summer and was committed to the issue.

“The way things are going now we will continue to lose jobs,” she said. “I didn’t mean that we were going to do it,” but rather “that was going to happen if we don’t take action.”

But, Mrs. Clinton added, “I don’t mind anybody being upset or angry,” given the desperation in Appalachia, where she will spend Monday and Tuesday with campaign events in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. She said, however, that she was “a bit sad and sorry that I gave people an excuse to be angry at me because that’s not what I said at all.”

At one point, Mr. Manchin, who Mrs. Clinton called to apologize after making the remark to CNN, stepped in on the former secretary of state’s behalf. “If I thought she wanted to eliminate one job in West Virginia, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” he told his constituents.

Mrs. Clinton acknowledged she would have a difficult path to win voters over in the May 10 Democratic primary and in the general election.

“I understand the anger and I understand the fear and I understand the disappointment that is being expressed. How could it not be given what’s going on here?” she said. “Because of the misstatement that I made, which I apologized for when I saw how it was being used,” she continued, “I know that my chances are pretty difficult, to be honest.”

As for Mr. Copley, he said he won’t be voting in the Democratic primary. “I’m a registered Republican,” he said.

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The radio call came in just after 1 a.m. to the air traffic control tower at the Quad City International Airport in eastern Illinois.

A private jet needed to land, and quickly. A man onboard was unresponsive.

Firefighters and paramedics responded and met the Dassault Falcon 990. They spent 18 minutes attending to the man on the tarmac, before whisking him to a local hospital.

The man was Prince, flying home to Minnesota after back-to-back concerts in Atlanta — which were to be his final moments on stage.

His brief hospitalization in Moline, Ill., on April 15 took place just six days before he was found dead Thursday at his Paisley Park estate in a suburb of Minneapolis.

The cause of death may not be determined for weeks, authorities said Friday. There were no immediate signs of trauma or indications of suicide, and one of the key aspects of the investigation will be his medical history, including previous hospitalizations and any drugs found in his body at the time of his death.

The initial autopsy was completed Friday, but results from tissue sample tests and toxicology screens could take “days… and most likely weeks,” said Martha Weaver, a spokeswoman for the Midwest Medical Examiners, during a news conference.

On Friday, new details emerged about the final hours of a star — notoriously private, and devoted to a vegan lifestyle — at his sprawling residential complex and recording studio in Chanhassen, about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

But many questions remain. An unconfirmed report from the news site TMZ said the singer was treated for an overdose of Percocet, a painkiller, when his jet diverted to the Quad City airport a week earlier.

Prince, 57, was last seen alive at 8 p.m. Wednesday, when someone dropped him off at Paisley Park, authorities said during the news conference. Prince was apparently left alone that night, without staff members or security.

Prince was “a very private person,” said Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson. “I don’t think it would be unusual, for him to be there by himself.”

When members of his staff couldn’t reach him Thursday morning, they went to Paisley Park.

An employee found the singer unresponsive in an elevator on the first floor of the building. A transcript of a 911 call released by the sheriff’s department provides a hint of the frantic scramble that followed.

“Yeah, we need an ambulance right now,” a man told a 911 dispatcher. “Um, we’re at Prince’s house. … The person is dead here.”

The caller said he didn’t know the address of Paisley Park and apologizes for the delay, saying everyone with him was “just distraught.”

The dispatcher asked: “Are you with the person who’s…”

“Yes, it’s Prince,” the caller responded.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Paisley Park at 9:43 a.m. Olson said he did not recall seeing a phone in the elevator or a cellphone near the body.

Prince was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m., but the time of death is still under investigation. He did not appear to have died in the minutes before officials arrived, Olson said.

“We have no reason to believe at this point that this was a suicide,” he said. “But again, this is early on in this investigation.”

Earlier this month, Prince postponed several shows, and his spokeswoman told reporters that he had the flu. But he returned to the stage, performing in Atlanta twice in one night on April 14, the night before his flight back to Minneapolis.

Unconfirmed reports from the news site TMZ indicated that Prince was treated for an overdose of the painkiller Percocet after the emergency landing. His jet took off again just a few hours later.

Doctors typically prescribe Percocet for severe pain, said Dr. Damon Raskin, the chief medical advisor at the drug rehabilitation center Cliffside Malibu. It’s considered a high-risk drug, and doctors cannot call a prescription into a pharmacy, but rather must write a prescription on paper or electronically transmit it using a secure system.

“Percocet is in the same family as heroine and codeine,” Raskin said. “It’s as dangerous as any opiate if someone is not used to it or if they take too much.”

The most common cause of death in an opiate overdose is that the user stops breathing, Raskin said, at which point doctors would administer a reversal agent called Narcan.

During the news conference, Olson said officials used CPR, but not Narcan, in an attempt to revive Prince.

In addition to examining medical records and interviewing the singer’s inner circle, Olson said, it would be “normal protocol” to review video footage from a drugstore that Prince had reportedly visited in his final days. Olson said the sheriff’s department will also file a search warrant for the Paisley Park property within the next 10 days.

Deputies had responded to Paisley Park before, Olson said, but not for Prince. The singer was well-known for hosting concerts and gatherings at the low-slung complex, surrounded by black gates and lit in purple.

Hundreds of mourners, many of them wearing purple, gathered there Friday afternoon. The black chain-link fence that surrounds Paisley Park had been festooned with dozens of purple balloons and bouquets of flowers — and even a purple map of Minnesota.

Darcy Peterson, 47, wore a purple argyle cardigan to pay her respects, and brought her daughter Madison, 19, whom she’d introduced to Prince’s music. When asked why she came, Darcy began to cry. Prince was part of her youth, she said, and a part of Minneapolis itself.

Like Prince, “I went to Minneapolis public schools,” she said. Both her prom and her homecoming had “Purple Rain” themes. And she still remembers the time when she turned 21, and saw Prince at the Pacific Club, not performing but sitting quietly by himself at a table in the corner, surrounded by bodyguards.

As Darcy Peterson watched her daughter write a message to Prince on a white sheet full of thanks and goodbyes that had been hung on the fence, she added, “He loved Minnesota.”

Kate Tucker, 62, biked over from the neighboring suburb of Eden Prairie and asked a stranger to take a photo of her posing in her helmet next to a psychedelic drawing of Prince hanging on the fence.

She had never bought one of his CDs or seen him in concert, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t a fan. “He put Minneapolis on the map,” Tucker said.

Hundreds of public figures shared memories of the star, including President Obama, who is in London for diplomatic meetings.

Friday morning, Obama listened to two classic Prince songs — “Purple Rain” and “Delirious” — on vinyl on a turntable at Winfield House, the London home of the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

“I loved Prince because he put out great music, and he was a great performer,” Obama told reporters. “He came to perform at the White House last year and was extraordinary and creative and original and full of energy, and so it’s a remarkable loss.”

His death resonated around the world, Minnesota officials told reporters, but his passing will also be felt locally. The star, a Minnesota native, had a residence in Los Angeles, but spent much of his time at Paisley Park.

“To you, Prince Rogers Nelson was a celebrity,” Olson said. “To us, he was a community member, and a good neighbor.”

Laura J. Nelson contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

Keegan and Winton reported from Los Angeles and Pearce from Chanhassen.

MORE:

10 great moments from Prince’s career

Why Prince required your attention long after ‘Purple Rain’

Appreciation: From beginning to end, Prince was always surprising us

Prince gave black kids the license to be who they wanted to be, not what society thought they should be

Where music meets religion: What an L.A. Times writer learned spending a night with Prince in 2009

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The radio call came in just after 1 a.m. to the air traffic control tower at the Quad City International Airport in eastern Illinois.

A private jet needed to land, and quickly. A man onboard was unresponsive.

Firefighters and paramedics responded and met the Dassault Falcon 990. They spent 18 minutes attending to the man on the tarmac, before whisking him to a local hospital.

The man was Prince, flying home to Minnesota after back-to-back concerts in Atlanta — which were to be his final moments on stage.

His brief hospitalization in Moline, Ill., on April 15 took place just six days before he was found dead Thursday at his Paisley Park estate in a suburb of Minneapolis.

The cause of death may not be determined for weeks, authorities said Friday. There were no immediate signs of trauma or indications of suicide, and one of the key aspects of the investigation will be his medical history, including previous hospitalizations and any drugs found in his body at the time of his death.

The initial autopsy was completed Friday, but results from tissue sample tests and toxicology screens could take “days… and most likely weeks,” said Martha Weaver, a spokeswoman for the Midwest Medical Examiners, during a news conference.

On Friday, new details emerged about the final hours of a star — notoriously private, and devoted to a vegan lifestyle — at his sprawling residential complex and recording studio in Chanhassen, about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

But many questions remain. An unconfirmed report from the news site TMZ said the singer was treated for an overdose of Percocet, a painkiller, when his jet diverted to the Quad City airport a week earlier.

Prince, 57, was last seen alive at 8 p.m. Wednesday, when someone dropped him off at Paisley Park, authorities said during the news conference. Prince was apparently left alone that night, without staff members or security.

Prince was “a very private person,” said Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson. “I don’t think it would be unusual, for him to be there by himself.”

When members of his staff couldn’t reach him Thursday morning, they went to Paisley Park.

An employee found the singer unresponsive in an elevator on the first floor of the building. A transcript of a 911 call released by the sheriff’s department provides a hint of the frantic scramble that followed.

“Yeah, we need an ambulance right now,” a man told a 911 dispatcher. “Um, we’re at Prince’s house. … The person is dead here.”

The caller said he didn’t know the address of Paisley Park and apologizes for the delay, saying everyone with him was “just distraught.”

The dispatcher asked: “Are you with the person who’s…”

“Yes, it’s Prince,” the caller responded.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Paisley Park at 9:43 a.m. Olson said he did not recall seeing a phone in the elevator or a cellphone near the body.

Prince was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m., but the time of death is still under investigation. He did not appear to have died in the minutes before officials arrived, Olson said.

“We have no reason to believe at this point that this was a suicide,” he said. “But again, this is early on in this investigation.”

Earlier this month, Prince postponed several shows, and his spokeswoman told reporters that he had the flu. But he returned to the stage, performing in Atlanta twice in one night on April 14, the night before his flight back to Minneapolis.

Unconfirmed reports from the news site TMZ indicated that Prince was treated for an overdose of the painkiller Percocet after the emergency landing. His jet took off again just a few hours later.

Doctors typically prescribe Percocet for severe pain, said Dr. Damon Raskin, the chief medical advisor at the drug rehabilitation center Cliffside Malibu. It’s considered a high-risk drug, and doctors cannot call a prescription into a pharmacy, but rather must write a prescription on paper or electronically transmit it using a secure system.

“Percocet is in the same family as heroine and codeine,” Raskin said. “It’s as dangerous as any opiate if someone is not used to it or if they take too much.”

The most common cause of death in an opiate overdose is that the user stops breathing, Raskin said, at which point doctors would administer a reversal agent called Narcan.

During the news conference, Olson said officials used CPR, but not Narcan, in an attempt to revive Prince.

In addition to examining medical records and interviewing the singer’s inner circle, Olson said, it would be “normal protocol” to review video footage from a drugstore that Prince had reportedly visited in his final days. Olson said the sheriff’s department will also file a search warrant for the Paisley Park property within the next 10 days.

Deputies had responded to Paisley Park before, Olson said, but not for Prince. The singer was well-known for hosting concerts and gatherings at the low-slung complex, surrounded by black gates and lit in purple.

Hundreds of mourners, many of them wearing purple, gathered there Friday afternoon. The black chain-link fence that surrounds Paisley Park had been festooned with dozens of purple balloons and bouquets of flowers — and even a purple map of Minnesota.

Darcy Peterson, 47, wore a purple argyle cardigan to pay her respects, and brought her daughter Madison, 19, whom she’d introduced to Prince’s music. When asked why she came, Darcy began to cry. Prince was part of her youth, she said, and a part of Minneapolis itself.

Like Prince, “I went to Minneapolis public schools,” she said. Both her prom and her homecoming had “Purple Rain” themes. And she still remembers the time when she turned 21, and saw Prince at the Pacific Club, not performing but sitting quietly by himself at a table in the corner, surrounded by bodyguards.

As Darcy Peterson watched her daughter write a message to Prince on a white sheet full of thanks and goodbyes that had been hung on the fence, she added, “He loved Minnesota.”

Kate Tucker, 62, biked over from the neighboring suburb of Eden Prairie and asked a stranger to take a photo of her posing in her helmet next to a psychedelic drawing of Prince hanging on the fence.

She had never bought one of his CDs or seen him in concert, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t a fan. “He put Minneapolis on the map,” Tucker said.

Hundreds of public figures shared memories of the star, including President Obama, who is in London for diplomatic meetings.

Friday morning, Obama listened to two classic Prince songs — “Purple Rain” and “Delirious” — on vinyl on a turntable at Winfield House, the London home of the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

“I loved Prince because he put out great music, and he was a great performer,” Obama told reporters. “He came to perform at the White House last year and was extraordinary and creative and original and full of energy, and so it’s a remarkable loss.”

His death resonated around the world, Minnesota officials told reporters, but his passing will also be felt locally. The star, a Minnesota native, had a residence in Los Angeles, but spent much of his time at Paisley Park.

“To you, Prince Rogers Nelson was a celebrity,” Olson said. “To us, he was a community member, and a good neighbor.”

Laura J. Nelson contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

Keegan and Winton reported from Los Angeles and Pearce from Chanhassen.

MORE:

10 great moments from Prince’s career

Why Prince required your attention long after ‘Purple Rain’

Appreciation: From beginning to end, Prince was always surprising us

Prince gave black kids the license to be who they wanted to be, not what society thought they should be

Where music meets religion: What an L.A. Times writer learned spending a night with Prince in 2009

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WASHINGTON — Donald J. Trump came to Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday and offered a freewheeling, circuslike glimpse of what the nation’s capital might look like if he is successful in his quest to occupy that big, white house on the 1600 block of the street.

Mr. Trump’s whirlwind day in Washington — part of his effort to demonstrate that he is running a serious presidential campaign — took him from an imposing law firm to a news conference at a hotel he is building here to a much-anticipated policy speech before a pro-Israel group, all with the Manhattan businessman’s characteristic mix of panache, policy and showmanship.

His first stop was at The Washington Post, for an editorial board meeting where he unveiled five members of his foreign policy team: Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz. Though Mr. Trump has been promising for months to release the names of his foreign policy advisers, those he presented on Monday have come under fire in the past. But the team will be led by Jeff Sessions, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Schmitz, an inspector general in the Defense Department during the George W. Bush administration, said after the announcement that he had yet to speak with Mr. Trump, but that he had provided three policy memos to his campaign. He added that while he did not agree with every word Mr. Trump said about foreign policy, he thought a moratorium on Muslim immigrants was a good idea. He also said he believed Mr. Trump’s attempt to remain “neutral” when dealing with the Israelis and Palestinians was being misconstrued and was simply meant as a negotiating strategy.

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Mr. Schmitz resigned his Defense Department post in 2005 amid accusations that he had helped block inquiries into administration officials.

Mr. Page, a managing partner at Global Energy Capital, and Mr. Phares, a professor at Daniel Morgan Academy whose specialty is defense and national security, both confirmed that they were advising Mr. Trump, but said they had yet to speak to him. Mr. Phares, who incited controversy when he was announced as an adviser to Mitt Romney in his 2012 presidential bid, has been criticized by Muslim groups and is outspoken against what he calls the threat of Shariah law.

The meeting at The Washington Post was not entirely a success: The paper’s opinion deputy digital director, Karen Attiah, took to Twitter to say that Mr. Trump had “hit on” her there. She later explained, in a column, that he had responded to her questions on policy by saying, “I hope I answered your question,” and adding, “Beautiful.”

Mr. Trump’s next stop was a private lunchtime meeting of about two dozen lawmakers and lobbyists at a law firm in the shadow of the Capitol, a group that included Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mr. Sessions; Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina senator who is now president of the conservative Heritage Foundation; Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and his wife, Callista; and a handful of House Republicans who support Mr. Trump.

Representative Chris Collins of New York, a Trump supporter who attended the meeting, said the group had discussed Mr. Trump’s national defense policy, and how to unite the Republican Party around his candidacy.

“It’s obvious that Mr. Trump will be our nominee,” Mr. Collins said. “We need to take the fight to Hillary Clinton.”

But Mr. Trump seemed most comfortable at an afternoon news conference at the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, the site of what will be a Trump hotel.

Standing below a large peaked skylight and behind a lectern that did not mention Mr. Trump’s campaign but instead touted “Trump Hotels,” he devoted the first five minutes to extolling his “magnificent building,” complete with its exterior of “all granite,” as thick as four or five feet in some places.

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In fact, Mr. Trump seemed surprised that the first question from a reporter was not about his new property, but about his meeting with lawmakers.

But during his nearly 40-minute news conference — which seemed as much personal brand promotion as an attempt to reassert his dominance before his evening speech in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group known as Aipac — Mr. Trump gamely held forth on everything from why the Republican Party should unite behind him to whom he would appoint to the Supreme Court.

“A third party means that the Democrats are going to win, almost certainly,” said Mr. Trump, who added that he expected to amass the necessary delegates to win his party’s nomination outright. “A third party will destroy the country.”

Mr. Trump at one point appeared to get tangled up in answering a question about how to allocate foreign aid to countries that he has suggested can defend themselves, and whether that standard would apply to Israel. He later clarified that Israel is the United States’ most important ally in the Mideast.

He also swatted away a question on whether Britain should leave the European Union. He predicted that it probably would, but when pressed, he said he did not want to offer his opinion.

Asked about comments that Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, made on Twitter criticizing him and calling him a “loser,” Mr. Trump hit back: “The Indian? You mean the Indian?” he said, referring to a controversy Ms. Warren weathered during her 2012 Senate bid over whether she had Native American ancestry, as she had once said.

And though Mr. Trump’s campaign strictly monitors, and sometimes restricts, which members of the news media receive credentials for his events, Monday’s news conference took an unusual turn when a freelance reporter who said she was a military veteran asked if Mr. Trump would employ veterans in his new hotel — and Mr. Trump instead called her to the front of the room to offer her a job.

“You look so smart and so good,” he said to the young African-American woman, Alicia Watkins, of Maryland. “Do you mind if I do a job interview right here?” Moments later, he joked, “If we can make a good deal on the salary, she’s going to probably have a job.”

Reporters were leery. After the news conference, Ms. Watkins — whose news outlet does not seem to exist online — maintained that she was “not a plant” and that she had not even expected to be able to ask a question “because I’m just a blogger.”

By then, Mr. Trump had moved on. “Let’s take a tour,” he said, leading reporters, photographers and cameramen — Pied Piper-style — to an outdoor area of the under-construction hotel, pointing out the décor. “Nobody asked about the hotel!”

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The first sign of trouble came last summer. Donald Trump complained that Pope Francis is “very political” and fails to recognize the possibility of ISIS invading the Vatican. More recently, the Republican presidential hopeful repeated the criticisms, saying about the Pontiff, “I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico.”
By the way, we don’t have an open border with Mexico.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 2/18/16, 8:00 PM ET

Pope pits Christian principle against anti-immigration rhetoric

Rachel Maddow reports on the Pope’s visit to the border between the United States and Mexico and how his remarks on the the appropriate Christian response to immigration rubbed Donald Trump the wrong way.

Nevertheless, the disagreement reached an entirely new level yesterday.

Pope Francis has a message for Donald Trump: building a wall on the Mexican border is “not Christian.” The pontiff delivered that message Thursday during a news conference on his flight back to the Vatican from Mexico.
“A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” the Buenos Aires-born pontiff said when asked about Trump’s now infamous promises to erect a wall aimed at keeping Mexicans out of the U.S.
The pope emphasized that his comments were intended to be intervention in an American political campaign.
As Rachel noted on the show last night, Trump, who doesn’t take kindly to criticism, was less than pleased with Francis’ comments. The GOP candidate said at a forum last night, “I don’t like fighting with the pope,” which may be true, but Trump did so anyway.
Donald Trump issued a blistering response to Pope Francis on Thursday, saying it is “disgraceful” for the Catholic leader to question his faith and calling the pontiff “a pawn” for the Mexican government.
“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” Trump said at a rally in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. A press release followed shortly after he read the statement at the podium.
The statement was, as expected, a doozy.
I saw some suggestions yesterday that this might be politically problematic for Trump, ahead in the polls with just one day remaining before the South Carolina primary. The Republican frontrunner has picked plenty of fights over the last several months, but maybe an offensive against the pope will cost Trump votes?
It’s possible, but I wouldn’t count on it. At least in the short term, South Carolina Republicans are dominated by evangelical Protestants, who have little use for Francis’ thoughts on immigration.
What’s more, from a slightly broader perspective, it’s easy to imagine yesterday’s back and forth actually helping Trump: it kept him in the spotlight the day after the state Republican establishment rallied behind Marco Rubio, knocking the senator off front pages, and it reminded far-right voters in South Carolina that Trump is an unyielding supporter of a border wall, a controversial position they support.
Those who argued yesterday, “This time, he’s really done it,” will probably be disappointed by the effects of yesterday’s brouhaha.

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Kenji Fujimoto came prepared with a page of handwritten notes about North Korea’s nuclear test the previous day. His conclusion: Kim Jong Un’s top priority is to improve the economy, so he needed to advertise his country’s technology to potential customers like Iran.
This kind of analysis is Fujimoto’s stock in trade these days. After all, he’s one of the few non-Koreans to have ever met Kim, and one of an even more select group that has talked to him since he became the leader of North Korea four years ago.

Never mind that Fujimoto spent only one boozy lunch with the “Great Successor” in 2012, or that most of the time they spent together was in the 1990s, when Fujimoto served as sushi chef to the current leader’s father, Kim Jong Il.
So little is known about the third-generation leader of North Korea that even this amount of contact qualifies Fujimoto for a unique job: professional Kimjongunologist.
“There’s no one else in Japan. I am the only one,” Fujimoto, who is 68 and uses a pseudonym, said in an interview. “This is all secret and I am revealing all my secrets to the world. For that, I can be executed by firing squad anytime.”
Fujimoto is the sole Japanese person known to have met Kim. (The only Americans believed to have met him are basketball player Dennis Rodman and his entourage). As such, Fujimoto has been in hot demand. On one side of his business card is the cover of his latest book, showing a photo of him hugging Kim Jong Un. The reverse: “Kim Jong Il’s chef. Please call this number below if you want to talk.”
Japanese television pays him $1,000 a pop to appear on screen talking about the North Korean leader, and newspapers — from Japan and around the world — give him about half that, he said. (The Washington Post declined Fujimoto’s request for payment, instead conducting two interviews over lunch in a grimy Chinese restaurant he frequents.)
Governments also pay him for his insights, Fujimoto said, although he was hazy about the details.
South Korea? Same as television, he said.
The United States? “Probably.”
U.S. diplomatic cables from 2008 released by Wikileaks said Japanese government analysts had “closely studied” Fujimoto’s first book. But the former chef denied rumors that Japanese authorities have paid him large amounts of money over the years.
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More than 1 million refugees and migrants came to the European Union this year, while almost 3,700 died or went missing in perilous journeys which reaped huge profit for smugglers, the International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.”This is three to four times as many migrants and refugees coming north as we had in 2014, and the deaths have already far surpassed the deaths last year,” IOM chief William Lacy Swing told Reuters.Almost all those arriving came across the Mediterranean or the Aegean Seas, and half were Syrians fleeing the war. Another 20 percent were Afghans, and 7 percent were Iraqis, IOM and the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said in a joint statement.People smuggling operations probably accounted for the majority of journeys and likely earned at least $1 billion, Swing said, taking “anywhere from $2,000 to maybe $6,000 depending on how many members of the family and depending on which smuggling ring it is”. IOM estimates people smugglers in Europe have made $10 billion or more since 2000, maybe much more. “They are certainly getting very well paid for their services,” Swing said.

Out of a total of 1,005,504 arrivals to Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Malta and Cyprus by Dec. 21, the vast majority — 816,752 — arrived by sea in Greece, IOM said.IOM spokesman Joel Millman said it was impossible to forecast how the flow of migrants would evolve in 2016.”So much is in the balance, the resolution of the Syrian war, and the disposition of the European border protection moves that are being contemplated,” he said.

“We never thought it would reach this level. We just hope people are treated with dignity.”The record movement of people into Europe is a symptom of a record level of disruption around the globe, with numbers of refugees and internally displaced people far surpassing 60 million, UNHCR said last week.

Swing said the war in Syria was only one among many causes, including Ebola and Boko Haram in West Africa, an earthquake in Nepal, conflicts in Libya, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Afghanistan and Iraq. “No wonder you have such a large flux coming north. This is an unprecedented scale of simultaneous complex protracted disasters from the western bulge of Africa to the Himalayas, with very few stable, peaceful spots in between.”U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres called on Friday for a “massive resettlement” of Syrian and other refugees within Europe, to distribute many hundreds of thousands …Read More

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