Live Coverage

Today's News: April 25, 2016

A double execution in Arkansas, North Korea stages live-fire drills, and more from the United States and around the world.

Kelly P. Kissel / AP

—Arkansas executed two inmates Monday night in the first double execution in the U.S. since 2000.

—North Korea staged artillery drills to mark its army’s 85th anniversary amid rising tensions with the U.S.

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).


This live blog has concluded

Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Order to Cut Funding From Sanctuary Cities

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

A federal judge blocked Tuesday President Trump’s executive order to withhold funding from so-called “sanctuary cities,” which adopt policies to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. San Francisco Judge William Orrick’s ruling, which found that the executive order unconstitutionally infringed on the rights of local governments, came in response to two lawsuits from San Francisco and neighboring Santa Clara County challenging the order, marking its first legal test since the order was signed in January. As my colleague Priscilla Alvarez reported at the time, the order threatened to strip federal funding from cities that refused to comply with federal immigration enforcement agents—a directive that was opposed by mayors and governors nationwide. The White House, which has not yet responded to the ruling, could ask the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco to overturn it. If the court does not, it would mark the latest blow to the Trump administration’s attempt to push its immigration agenda. Trump’s executive order to impose a travel ban on citizens from six Muslim or predominantly majority countries was also blocked.

Officers Involved in United Dragging Incident Say They Used 'Minimal but Necessary Force'

People protest the forced removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight at O'Hare International Airport on April 11, 2017. (Kamil Krzaczynski / Reuters)

A Chicago Aviation Department officer said he used “minimal but necessary force” when he forcibly removed a passenger from what was thought to be an overbooked United Airlines flight. Mauricio Rodriguez Jr., the first officer to respond to the incident, said in his report that Dr. David Dao, the 69-year-old passenger, became combative after he was asked to leave the flight, reportedly saying, “I'm not leaving this flight that I paid money for. I don't care if I get arrested.” When James Long, another officer, tried to remove Dao from his seat, Rodriguez said Dao “started swinging his arms up and down fast and violently,” prompting Dao to hit his head on the armrest. Thomas Demetrio, Dao’s attorney, said the 69-year-old was left with a concussion, a broken nose, and two lost teeth as a result. The incident, which was captured on video, generated global backlash against the airline, and the officers involved, including Rodriguez, Long, and Sergeant John Moore, were placed on leave. A spokesman for Demetrio called the officer’s account of the events “utter nonsense.”

House Oversight Panel Says Mike Flynn Might Have Broken the Law

(Gary Cameron / Reuters)

The chairman and ranking member of the U.S. House Oversight Committee say former national security adviser Mike Flynn does not appear to have followed the law while failing to disclose money he received for a speech he made in Russia. “I see no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law,” Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the committee, said Tuesday. Representative Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat, called Flynn’s actions “troubling.” Their remarks to reporters came after they reviewed Flynn's application for a security clearance and his disclosures about his ties with Russia. Flynn resigned as President Trump’s national-security adviser shortly after he accepted the job after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and others about the nature of the conversations he held with the Russian envoy to the U.S.

Trump Imposes Tariff on Canadian Lumber

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump speak at the White House on February 13. (Carlos Barria / Reuters)

The Trump administration announced Monday night a 24 percent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber imports, marking its first major trade action against the U.S.’s second-largest trading partner. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the move, which came in response to an investigation the Obama administration conducted last year over concerns Canada was subsidizing its lumber industry in ways that hurt their U.S. rivals, could amount to roughly $1 billion in new tariffs. Canada called the tariff an “unfair and punitive” decision that “will negatively affect workers on both sides of the border,” adding the country would defend its softwood lumber industry, including through litigation. The move comes a month after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to the White House, during which President Trump noted the United States’s “outstanding trade relationship with Canada,” but added: “We’ll be tweaking it, we’ll be doing certain things that are gonna benefit both of our countries.” The new tariff may only be the start of the escalating U.S.-Canada trade row. President Trump suggested Tuesday morning that the U.S. could also target Canadian dairy imports.

North Korea Conducts Firing Drill to Mark Army's Anniversary

North Koreans mark the 85th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Army. (KCNA / Reuters)

North Korea carried out an artillery drill Tuesday to coincide with the 85th founding anniversary of its army. The move came the same day a U.S. Navy submarine arrived in South Korea where it will join U.S. warships, including the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, and amid increasing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea has in the recent past marked important anniversaries by testing missiles or nuclear devices, but South Korean officials say they see no indication either is planned. North Korea conducted a failed missile test earlier this month amid speculation the Trump administration, which had fired missiles against a Syrian regime target and dropped the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan, would respond with force. Vice President Mike Pence warned the regime in the North not to “test” President Trump’s patience. The White House sees North Korea as a major threat and has scheduled a highly unusual briefing, scheduled for Wednesday, for the entire U.S. Senate. Meanwhile China, which has some influence over the North, has appealed for restraint.  

Arkansas Carries Out First Back-to-Back Executions Since 2000

Inmates Bruce Ward (top row L to R), Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Stacy Johnson, Jack Jones (bottom row L to R), Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams, and Jason Mcgehee are shown in these booking photos. (Arkansas Department of Corrections / Reuters)

Arkansas carried out late Monday the first back-to-back executions in the U.S. since 2000, when it administered lethal injections to Jack Jones Jr. and Marcel Williams, both of whom were convicted of murders two decades ago. Just last week, the state prevailed over legal challenges and executed its first inmate since 2005. Arkansas had scheduled eight executions over 11 days as its supply of execution drug midazolam was set to expire at the end of the month. Three of those executions have now been carried out. Both Jones and Williams, the men executed last night, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a delay, but the high court rejected their requests without explanation. Jones was executed first, followed by Williams, whose execution was briefly delayed while a federal judge considered whether the first execution was carried out properly. She determined it was. Texas carried out the last back-to-back executions in the year 2000.