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The nation in brief

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports | April 10, 2021 at 3:43 a.m.

POW/MIA flag again atop White House

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has restored the prisoner-of-war/missing-in-action flag to its former location atop the White House.

The black-and-white POW/MIA flag returned atop the chief executive’s residence, just below the American flag, on Friday, which is National Former POW Recognition Day. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the return was “in keeping with the president and first lady’s commitment to honor the sacrifices of all those who serve.” Last summer, former President Donald Trump moved the POW flag from its customary perch to a less prominent location on the White House South Lawn. The location atop the White House can be seen from a much greater distance.

The move came after a request from a bipartisan group of senators.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., tweeted that he was “proud” to see the flag above the White House again as a way of honoring “the sacrifices of our brave service members who were held behind enemy lines, and those who have not yet returned home.”

City providing hotel rooms for homeless

KANSAS CITY, Mo.— City officials have agreed to provide temporary housing in hotel rooms for the homeless population in Kansas City, Mo, after a months-long encampment on the lawn of City Hall.

The measure to provide hotel rooms for up to 500 people for the next 90 days unanimously cleared the City Council on Thursday, the Kansas City Star reported.

Roughly 40 tents housing dozens of people have been set up in front of City Hall and in other encampments since February as advocates seek additional resources for people without secure housing.

“Kansas City does not have unique problems, but Kansas City can have unique solutions,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “And a way that we can have those unique solutions is working together.” The mayor said he is seeking support from the City Council to accomplish longer-term solutions. The hotels will provide time to work on two other goals: a land bank for permanent housing and a workforce initiative.

“To me, that is a beautiful first step,” said James Shelby, who goes by the name Qadhafi and became homeless roughly two years ago. “It’s not the end. But that’s the first step of the beginning of resolving this issue.”

Don’t pare state voting list, court says

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state elections commission should not remove from the rolls the names voters who have been flagged as possibly having moved, something Democrats fought and conservatives have wanted done for nearly two years.

The court’s 5-2 ruling means about 69,000 people on the list of likely movers will not have their voter registrations deactivated. When the lawsuit was first filed in 2019, about 234,000 names were on the list. Of those who remain, none voted in the 2020 presidential election, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. No voters had their registrations deactivated while the legal fight was pending.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative advocacy group, argued that the state elections commission broke the law when it did not remove voters from the rolls who failed to respond within 30 days to a mailing in 2019 inquiring about their residency status.

But the court said the job of removing voters from the rolls was up to local municipal elections officials, not the state commission. It ordered the case dismissed.

Two of the court’s conservative justices, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and Justice Brian Hagedorn, joined with liberal justices Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky in the majority. Hagedorn wrote the majority opinion.

Texan accused of Amazon-hub threats

DALLAS — A Texas man was charged Friday with threatening to blow up an Amazon data center in Virginia in an effort to damage the internet and services he believed were used by federal agencies, including the FBI and the CIA, according to acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.

Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, of Wichita Falls is charged with attempting to destroy a building with an explosive, Shah said in a statement.

Pendley is in custody, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice, who did not know if Pendley had an attorney who could speak for him.

In a complaint filed in federal court, FBI special agent John Coyle said a confidential source notified the FBI in January of threatening posts on social media by a user later identified as Pendley.

A second confidential source later in January notified the FBI that Pendley had threatened to blow up Amazon Web Services data centers in Ashburn, Va., to “kill off about 70% of the internet.” The second source Thursday introduced Pendley to an undercover FBI employee in March, who provided Pendley with inert explosive devices, resulting in his arrest.

Federal agents also said a search of Pendley’s Facebook account showed that he had boasted about being at the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.


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