Happening Today: North Korea, Tax Overhaul, Artificial Intelligence

What to Know

  • Police in Tampa said they will charge a man who was detained with a gun with four counts of murder in connection four shooting deaths
  • North Korea defied President Trump and the world again by firing another ballistic test missile
  • Facebook is turning to artificial intelligence to detect if someone might be contemplating suicide

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Tampa Police Make Arrest in Serial Killer Case

Police in Tampa, Florida, said they plan to charge a man who was detained with a gun at a McDonald's with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with a series of shooting deaths that authorities had said could be the work of a serial killer. Acting on a tip, detectives recovered a gun and found the suspect, identified as Howell Emmanuel Donaldson III, 24, at the McDonald's restaurant in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood, WFLA reported. Police have said they believe the incident is connected to the recent murders in the Seminole Heights neighborhood, although they haven't said why. Four people have been found shot to death in recent weeks in the same half-mile area north of downtown.

Prospects Brighter for Tax Overhaul, Success Not Assured

Prospects are suddenly looking brighter for the Republican tax overhaul. But the chances of avoiding a government shutdown? Not so much. Republicans held together and shoved their signature tax overhaul a crucial step ahead as wavering GOP senators showed a growing openness. But its fate remained uncertain, and a planned White House summit aimed at averting a government shutdown was derailed when President Trump savaged top Democrats and declared on Twitter, "I don't see a deal!" Trump lunched with GOP senators at the Capitol and declared it a "love fest," as he had at his previous closed-doors visit. But the day underscored the party's yearlong problem of unifying behind key legislation — even a bill slashing corporate taxes and cutting personal taxes that's a paramount party goal.

Nevada High-Rise Suspected Gunman Dead, Hostage Safe, Authorities Say

A gunman with a hostage opened fire from the eighth floor of a luxury high-rise condominium in Nevada onto the streets below, authorities said. No injuries were reported. The man died after a SWAT team descended on him while he was barricaded at the Montage, Reno police Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said. It wasn't immediately clear whether he was killed by police gunfire or his own. No one else, including the hostage, was hurt. The gunman's name has not been released. Robinson described him only as a young adult. The luxury high-rise is surrounded by some of downtown Reno's most popular casinos, and the gunfire brought eerie echoes of the Las Vegas shooting two months earlier that killed dozens. But there were no reported injuries in the attack as the streets were mostly empty on a cold weeknight.

North Korea Launches ICBM It Claims Can Hit Whole U.S. Mainland

After 2 ½ months of relative peace, North Korea launched its most powerful weapon yet, claiming a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that some observers believe could put Washington and the entire eastern U.S. seaboard within range. The North said in a special televised announcement hours after the launch that it had successfully fired what it called the Hwasong-15, a new nuclear-capable ICBM that's "significantly more" powerful than the long-range weapons it's previously tested. Outside governments and analysts backed up the North's claim to a jump in missile capability. A resumption of Pyongyang's torrid testing pace in pursuit of its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland had been widely expected, but the apparent power and suddenness of the new test still jolted the Korean Peninsula and Washington. The launch at 3:17 a.m. local time and midday in the U.S. capital indicated an effort to perfect the element of surprise and to obtain maximum attention in the United States. In a government statement released through state media, North Korea said the Hwasong-15, the "greatest ICBM," could be armed with a "super-large heavy nuclear warhead" and striking the "whole mainland" of the United States.

Facebook Turns to AI to Help Prevent Suicides

Facebook is turning to artificial intelligence to detect if someone might be contemplating suicide. Facebook already has mechanisms for flagging posts from people thinking about harming themselves. The new feature is intended to detect such posts before anyone reports them. The service will scan posts and live video with a technique called "pattern recognition." For example, comments from friends such as "are you ok?" can indicate suicidal thoughts. Facebook has already been testing the feature in the U.S. and is making it available in most other countries. The European Union is excluded, though; Facebook won't say why. The company is also using AI to prioritize the order that flagged posts are sent to its human moderators so they can quickly alert local authorities.

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