What to Know
- Attorney General William Barr will face lawmakers' questions for the 1st time since releasing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report
- New Mexico health officials say two people who received facial injections from the same spa are infected with HIV
- Fox Entertainment says Jussie Smollett will not return to "Empire" in the wake of allegations he lied about a racially-motivated attack
Get the top headlines of the day in your morning briefing from NBC 4 New York, Monday through Friday. Sign up for our newsletter here.
William Barr Expected to Defend His Handling of Mueller Report
Attorney General William Barr will face lawmakers' questions for the first time since releasing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report, in what promises to be a dramatic showdown as he defends his actions before Democrats who accuse him of spinning the investigation's findings in President Donald Trump's favor. Barr's appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to highlight the partisan schism around Mueller's report and the Justice Department's handling of it. It will give the attorney general his most extensive opportunity to explain the department's actions, including a press conference held before the report's release, and for him to repair a reputation bruised by allegations that he's the president's protector. A major focus of the hearing is likely to be the revelation that Mueller expressed frustration to Barr, in a letter to the Justice Department and in a phone call, with how the conclusions of his investigation were being portrayed. Barr is also invited to appear Thursday before the Democratic-led House Judiciary panel, but the Justice Department said he would not testify if the committee insisted on having its lawyers question the attorney general.
2 Dead, 4 Injured in Campus Shooting; Suspect Identified
A man armed with a pistol opened fire on students at a North Carolina university during the last day of classes, killing two people and wounding four, police said. Officers who had gathered ahead of a campus concert raced over and disarmed the suspect. The shooting prompted a lockdown at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and caused widespread panic across campus as students scrambled to take shelter. "Just loud bangs. A couple loud bangs and then we just saw everyone run out of the building, like nervous, like a scared run like they were looking behind," said Antonio Rodriguez, 24, who was visiting campus for his friend's art show. Campus Police Chief Jeff Baker said authorities received a call around 4:40 p.m. that a suspect armed with a pistol had shot several students. He said officers assembling nearby for a concert rushed to the classroom building and arrested the gunman in the room where the shooting took place.
Venezuela Awaits More Protests After a Day of Turmoil
He called it the moment for Venezuelans to reclaim their democracy once and for all. But as the hours dragged on, opposition leader Juan Guaidó stood alone on a highway overpass with the same small cadre of soldiers with whom he launched a bold effort to spark an uprising and settle Venezuela's agonizing power struggle. Like past attempts to oust President Nicolas Maduro, the opposition seemed outmaneuvered again. What Guaidó dubbed "Operation Freedom" triggered a familiar pattern of security forces using repressive tactics to crush small pockets of stone-throwing youths while millions of Venezuelans watched the drama unfold with a mix of fear and exasperation. The opposition's hoped-for split in the military didn't emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government's bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy. The opposition's hoped-for split in the military didn't emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government's bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy. Guaidó, the telegenic 35-year-old leader of the opposition-dominated congress who is recognized by the U.S. and over 50 nations as Venezuela's rightful president, nonetheless pressed forward in calling for a new round of mass street protests Wednesday. Opposition forces are hoping that Venezuelans angered by broadcast images of armored vehicles plowing into protesters and fed up with their nation's dire humanitarian crisis will fill streets across the nation.
2 Diagnosed With HIV After Injections at New Mexico Spa
New Mexico health officials say two people who received facial injections from the same spa are infected with HIV. The New Mexico Department of Health said in a news release two clients of VIP Spa in Albuquerque who received "vampire facials" last year were recently diagnosed with the same HIV strain. Officials say the two people patronized the spa between May and September of 2018. The spa typically provided vampire facials where the client's own blood is injected into the face to replenish the skin. The agency says more than 100 people have already been tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C. Testing is free and confidential. VIP Spa shuttered in September after state agencies found issues with how needles were handled and disposed.
Kids' Suicides Spiked After Netflix's '13 Reasons Why,' Study Finds
Suicides among U.S. kids aged 10 to 17 jumped to a 19-year high in the month following the release of a popular TV series that depicted a girl ending her life, researchers said. The study can't prove the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why" was the cause, but there were 195 more youth suicides than would have been expected in the nine months following the show's March 2017 release, given historical and seasonal suicide trends, the study estimated. During April 2017 alone, 190 U.S. tweens and teens took their own lives. Their April 2017 suicide rate was .57 per 100,000 people, nearly 30 percent higher than in the preceding five years included in the study. An additional analysis found that the April rate was higher than in the previous 19 years, said lead author Jeff Bridge, a suicide researcher at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "The creators of the series intentionally portrayed the suicide of the main character. It was a very graphic depiction of the suicide death," which can trigger suicidal behavior, Bridge said.
Jussie Smollett Will Not Return to 'Empire' Next Season
Fox Entertainment says Jussie Smollett will not return to "Empire" in the wake of allegations by Chicago officials the actor lied about a racially motivated attack. The studio released a statement saying "there are no plans for Smollett's character of Jamal to return to 'Empire.'" No reason was given. Fox announced earlier the show had been renewed for a sixth season. "We've been told that Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamals future open," a spokesperson for Smollett said. "Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support." Chicago police allege Smollett paid two brothers to help him stage a January attack in which he said two masked men beat him, hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, doused him with a chemical substance and put a rope around his neck.
Obamas Unveil Slate of Series, Documentaries for Netflix
Barack and Michelle Obama have unveiled a slate of projects in development for Netflix, a year after the former president and first lady signed a deal with the streaming platform. The Obamas' production company, Higher Ground Productions, announced a total of seven films and series that Barack Obama said will entertain but also "educate, connect and inspire us all." Higher Ground is producing a feature film on Frederick Douglass, adapted from David W. Blight's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography. It's also planning an adaptation of The New York Times "Overlooked" obituary column, about deaths unreported by the paper. Netflix and the Obamas acquired the Sundance Film Festival documentary "American Factory," about a Chinese-owned factory in post-industrial Ohio. And the company's "Bloom" is an upstairs-downstairs drama set in post-WWII New York.