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Suspect charged in road rage killing of former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith

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Former NFL athlete Will Smith was killed and his wife injured by a gunman who shot the retired football player several times after ramming into his car in New Orleans, police and a local media report said on Sunday.

Suspected shooter Cardell Hayes, 30, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, the New Orleans Police Department said in a tweet. Police said they were investigating the killing as a possible case of road rage.

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Smith, 34, a retired defensive end with the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints, was traveling in a Mercedes in the city’s Lower Garden District shortly before 11:30 p.m. CDT (0430 GMT) on Saturday when his car was rear-ended by a Hummer.

Smith exchanged words with the driver of the Hummer, who took out a handgun and shot him several times, New Orleans Police Department spokesman Juan Barnes said in a statement.

Smith was drafted by the Saints in 2004 after playing college football with Ohio State. The 6-foot 3-inch (191 cm) defender played a decade with the Saints, including in their 2010 Super Bowl victory. He was injured in 2013 and his contract was terminated in 2014.

Saints fans and current and past players took to social media to mourn the death of the father of three children.

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“Tragedy! Doesn’t even describe the terrible news of the Nola legend Will Smith! Praying for the Smith family! Rest in Love Will!” tweeted Saints’ offensive tackle Terron Armstead.

“In our community he was an important contributor to numerous charitable causes to benefit those in need,” Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said in a statement on Sunday.

During the Saturday night incident, a 33-year-old woman who was with Smith was shot in the legs and taken to the hospital, the police statement said. The Times-Picayune newspaper identified the woman as Smith’s wife, Racquel Smith.

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The shooting came during a New Orleans food and music event, the French Quarter Festival, which Smith attended with his wife. Hours before he was killed, Smith posted a photo of himself and his wife on Instagram, saying “Having a blast at the #fqf2016.”

The shooting occurred in a neighborhood along the Mississippi River, adjacent to the French Quarter, known for art galleries, restaurants, bars and historic buildings.

Police said the shooter stayed on the scene after the incident and that they recovered the weapon used.

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(Reporting by Chris Michaud and Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Tom Heneghan and Alan Crosby)


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Elections 2016

Intelligence official directly contradicts Trump administration’s excuses for suppressing whistleblower

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A top official in the intelligence community has disputed the factual basis for the Trump administration’s suppression of a whistleblower complaint believed to regard the potential misconduct of the president himself, a new letter released Thursday revealed.

The letter was made public by House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). He is locked into a fierce and potentially explosive dispute with an array of forces within the administration to obtain the complaint, which was made through proper channels by an intelligence official last month to the community’s inspector general. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was “credible” and “urgent,” and subsequent reporting from the Washington Post found that it concerns a “promise” made by Trump in communication with a foreign leader.

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Longtime GOP strategist explains why his party is getting crushed in the war of ideas

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Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on Wednesday warned the GOP that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might not be a pushover candidate against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Writing on Twitter, Stevens admitted that he had "no idea" if Warren would beat Trump next year, but he did say that "Trump and supporters are destroying [the] credibility of any center-right argument" thanks to Trump's "corrupt and unstable" governance.

When one of Stevens' followers said that Warren would not be able to fulfill her promises just by taxing the wealthy, he countered that this idea is still more popular than anything Republicans are championing.

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Elections 2016

Japan wants to dump Fukushima radioactive water into ocean

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Japan's top government spokesman slapped down the environment minister on Tuesday after he said there was "no other option" but to release radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean.

"It is not true that we have decided on the disposal method," Chief Cabinet Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters after Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada's comments earlier in the day.

The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), is storing more than one million tonnes of contaminated water in tanks at the site of Fukushima Daiichi Plant that was wrecked by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

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