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Whitey Bulger's family filing wrongful death suit against DOJ

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MivPiv/iStock(NEW YORK) — The family of James “Whitey” Bulger signaled its intent Friday to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Justice Department, nearly a year after the Boston gangster was beaten to death in federal prison.

Bulger, who was 89 when he died last October, had been moved into the general population of the federal penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia, where he was attacked within hours.

“We believe that James Bulger was deliberately placed in harm’s way,” the family said in a statement provided to ABC News by their attorney Hank Brennan. “There is simply no other explanation for the transfer of someone in his condition and inmate status to be placed in the general population of one of the country’s most violent federal penitentiaries.”

According to Bulger’s family, he had anticipated being moved from U.S. Penitentiary Coleman in Florida to a medical facility better equipped to manage his failing health.

 “Instead, he was transported to USP Hazelton, where he was murdered within hours of arrival,” the family’s statement said.

The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

 The FBI has been investigating Bulger’s death, but has yet to bring any charges. The family said its notice of claim is meant to get answers.

The lawsuit is seeking $200,000 in damages, but the family noted that they expect no financial benefit since any award to Bulger’s estate is subject to forfeiture orders.

Bulger, an FBI informant, had been serving a life sentence for crimes committed while head of the Winter Hill gang.

He had been linked to 11 murders.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Teen activist Greta Thunberg says Global Climate Strike mission is 'much bigger' than skipping school

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We-Ge/iStock(NEW YORK) —  Thousands of young activists filled the streets by New York City Hall Friday for the Global Climate Strike.

Participants joined together to strike ahead of next week’s UN Climate Summit and NYC Climate Week, urging lawmakers to act on climate issues.

More than 1,000 communities across the United States participated in the event, and New York City schools allowed students to attend the march.

Sixteen-year-old activist, Greta Thunberg, spoke with “Good Morning America” about her plan for the Climate Strike and the message she wants to send to others about climate change.

GMA: What is your plan for Friday’s Climate Strike?

Greta: Today I’m going to join the Climate Strike in New York, which will start on Foley Square and end up on Battery Park, and then I’m planning to go home and look at all the pictures from around the world from all of the strikes.

I look forward to doing that and to seeing all the numbers from strikes.

GMA: What do you expect from today?

Greta: From today, I hope there will be lots and lots of people all around the world who are standing together and are striking for the climate, striking for schools, striking from work. People of all ages joining each other in this fight, and I hope that will lead to action, to real action, because this is building up to the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday and for the UN Week when world leaders are gathering in New York. I just hope that they will take something out this that there are so many [who desperately] want action, who demand action.

GMA: We heard that over 150 countries are participating in this Friday, how does that make you feel?

Greta: The numbers from all these cities around the world. There are tens of thousands and just small towns, and it’s just incredible to see. I think it’s just a joyful day.

GMA: What’s your next step?

Greta: After today, I am going to stay in New York for a while for the UN Week and join several events, and then for the big strike on the 27th of September in one week, I am going up to Montreal to join that climate strike, and then I’m going to try to get to Santiago.

This movement we are planning on continuing. [For] some of us, it’s every Friday and some of us, it’s whenever we can and many of us on the big global strikes.

GMA: You recently mentioned that news organizations and Congress need to do more than just cover you like a piece of news. Tell us more about that.

Greta: Right now we are focusing very much on me as the individual, and not the climate crisis itself, so I think we need to see more the big picture and the media need to cover this whole crisis for what it actually is.

I’m so public and so many people are listening to me, then I’m trying to use that positioning to making a change.

GMA: Tell us about a time during your tour when you spoke to someone who opposes your beliefs.

Greta: Of course, I have met many people who don’t understand or accept the science, and I just don’t try to convince them otherwise, because I don’t want to normalize their view, because, I mean, it’s just science. This is not my beliefs or opinions. I’m just trying to communicate the science.

GMA: Do you feel like when you talk to people in America, it’s different than anywhere else you’ve traveled to.

Greta: Of course, every country’s different. Here, it feels like we are still stuck in the conversation of whether the climate crisis is real or not. People always say, “I believe in climate change,” and it’s just we need to move past that.

GMA: What don’t people understand about your mission?

Greta: About me and our mission, this movement’s mission, we are not just some kids who are skipping school, but this actually something much bigger. This is a movement and all we’re saying is, “Listen to science,” and we are so much more than just young children. This is, I think, this is something very big that is growing and it will not stop. I think we are only seeing the beginning.

GMA: What would you want to happen in 50 years?

Greta: I would want [the world] to have taken the responsibility and listen to the science, and together with experts and scientists, developed a plan and how to take the measures required to safeguard the conditions for future and present generations.

GMA: Do you have a message for the leader of the United States, President Donald Trump?

Greta: My message is the same to everyone, just [unite behind] science, and, I mean, it doesn’t feel like it’s very easy to change his mindset, so I’m not even gonna try to do that.

GMA: What do you think the best way is to get people to agree or talk about climate issues?

Greta: I think just raise awareness and start treating this crisis as the crisis it is, because otherwise, people won’t be able to understand the urgency, and if they don’t understand of the situation, they can’t be able to put pressure on people in power, so I think it’s a very essential part of this.

GMA: What has surprised you the most about your American tour?

Greta: I don’t know, just so many cultural differences. It’s very fun to travel to different countries and see how the debate is going there and how much people seem to be aware, and how climate activists work, because they work so different in different parts of the world.

Everything is just so much bigger and so much more than where I come from.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

At least 4 dead, others critically hurt in Utah tour bus crash: Officials

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Michael Warren/iStock(BRYCE CANYON, UT) — At least four people are dead after a tour bus rolled over on a Utah road, ejecting some passengers, authorities said.

Thirty people, including the driver, were on board when the bus rolled over near Bryce Canyon National Park on SR-12, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Denise Dastrup said.

At least four people are dead after a tour bus rolled over on a Utah road, ejecting some passengers, authorities said.

Thirty people, including the driver, were on board when the bus rolled over near Bryce Canyon National Park on SR-12, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Denise Dastrup said.

There appeared to be “no obvious explanation for the rollover,” Garfield County Sheriff James Perkins told ABC News. He said the crash was on “part of the road that had a slight gradual turn,” but “not much of a turn.”

The Utah Highway Patrol said the bus was carrying Chinese speaking tourists into Bryce Canyon. Following the crash, the Chinese Embassy said it’s monitoring the situation.

“We are saddened to hear about the accident in Utah involving a bus carrying Chinese tourists,” the Embassy said in a statement. “The Embassy has initiated its emergency protocols, sent personnel to the area, and will assist the victims as needed.”

SR-12 is now closed in both directions, about 3.5 miles west of the park. The national park remains open.

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Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

School bus driver arrested on alleged DUI after child calls 911 to report her 'drunk'

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manonallard/iStock(LONGVIEW, Wash.) — A Washington state bus driver school bus driver has been charged with driving under the influence after a student got home and called 911 to report her.

On Sept. 12 around 3:58 p.m., officers were tasked with locating a driver suspected of being under the influence, Longview police said in a statement.

A person had called 911 to report that a woman was driving a Longview School Bus District bus and “appeared to be intoxicated,” police said.

In the 911 call, a child tells the dispatcher that he’s making the call instead of his mother because she does not speak English.

“Ummm, yea, hello. … We just got off the bus — me and my friend. And on bus 8 … the bus driver, Catherine, she was drunk,” a child can be heard telling the 911 dispatcher in audio released to ABC News. “She passed three red lights and she got on the side road by the 76. And there’s still kids on there. And I was telling my friend to get off with me — and his sister — but the bus driver wouldn’t let him.”

The child tells the dispatcher that the bus driver was “wobbling.”

“Her eyes, you can tell, she was drunk,” he says.

Police said the 911 call center reached the school district’s transportation office and got the school bus driver to stop on Nichols Boulevard. The driver was identified as 48-year-old Catherine L. Maccarone by police.

“Officers smelled an obvious odor of intoxicants coming from Maccarone,” the police statement said.

 Maccarone was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence. There were no children on the bus at the time of the arrest, police said, but she had completed two afternoon bus routes. Police said they were trying to identify the passengers on that bus.

The Longview School District said Friday that Maccarone had been working as a bus driver for one year and that, to its knowledge, she had not been reported or investigated for similar alleged incidents in the past.

Rick Parrish, the district’s communications coordinator, told ABC News Friday that up to 90 children may have been on the bus that day with Maccarone. He said that he had spoken to the student who made the 911 call as well as the student’s parents.

Parrish said Maccarone was on paid leave while an investigation is underway.

“Depending on how any given investigation unfolds, the pay status could change,” Parrish said.

Maccarone was booked into the Cowlitz County jail on a DUI and reckless endangerment. She paid bond and was due back in court on Oct. 15, jail officials said. ABC News’ attempts to reach Maccarone’s public defender were not successful.

Police said that additional charges were possible as they continued their investigation and that the district was working with the police.

“At Longview Public Schools safety and security of our students and staff is a top priority,” Parrish said in a statement Friday. “The district will complete an investigation into the incident very soon and notify the public of the outcome. In the meantime, an initial review of transportation processes and procedures has taken place and resulted in changes to the bus key check out process. Additionally, the district has invited a state Department of Education transportation manager to review our transportation processes and provide feedback from improvement.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Reward for missing 5-year-old girl Dulce Maria Alavez up to $35,000

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New Jersey State Police(BRIDGETON, N.J.) —  The search for 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez entered its fifth day Friday with no significant leads or suspects, as authorities increased the reward for any information on the missing New Jersey girl to $35,000.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll find Dulce alive because we have no physical evidence,” Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Bridgeton Chief of Police Michael Gaimari said at the same press conference there are no “strong suspects” at this time.

 Dulce was last seen Monday afternoon near City Park in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The FBI, state police, missing persons unit, helicopters and the downtown ship dive crew have been part of the search effort.

Dulce’s mother reported to authorities that she saw her daughter playing on the swings with her 3-year-old brother, about 30 yards away, while she remained in her car with an 8-year-old relative. The mother said the toddler returned to her car without his sister and she was unable to find her, according to a statement from the Bridgetown Police Department.

Gaimari said that authorities expanded the search area about a mile and a half in each direction around the park on Friday, to make sure that they had covered their tracks. He would not say what, if anything, was recovered.

Gaimari also addressed rumors that Dulce’s mother had been arrested, calling them “erroneous.”

The New Jersey State Police issued an Amber Alert for Dulce early Wednesday after investigators interviewed people who were in the area at the time she vanished. Based on those interviews, detectives believe Dulce was taken by an unidentified man, who was light-skinned and possibly Hispanic, wearing a black shirt and red pants with orange sneakers. He was described as being around 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8 and having a thin build, acne and no facial hair.

Webb-McCrae said the investigation has led them to a place where “we just want to talk to the man described.” They are looking into the possibility that the person who took Dulce could be in the state or somewhere else in the country.

She said the public should be aware of any behavioral changes they observe in those close to them, including any sudden changes in appearances, plans, or vehicles.

Webb-McCrae emphasized that state police, her office and the FBI were not concerned with anyone’s immigration status if they did come forward with information.

On Friday, local authorities announced that the reward money for any information had been increased from $25,000.

The FBI, the prosecutor’s office, and the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association are each contributing $5,000. Two local businesses, Tortilleria El Paisano and Newfield National Bank, are each offering $10,000.

Dulce’s grandmother addressed the public on Thursday, begging anyone with information to come forward.

“Please, if you have any information help us find my granddaughter, do not be afraid of the police,” she said in Spanish at a press conference. “We have not been able to eat or sleep. You can’t imagine what we are going through. We are very sad.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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