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Teen accused of killing acquaintance who sold him paprika instead of pot 

A Utah teenager has been charged as an adult in a homicide that police investigators said took place after another teen sold him cooking spices instead of marijuana.

Seth Carreras, 17, of Layton, was moved into the adult population at the Davis County Jail earlier this month, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. He is being held without bail on charges of murder and assault by a prisoner.

Reporters described Carreras as “smirking” during a Jan. 5 court hearing in the death of Hunter Woodson, 19, who was gunned down in his Sunset home on Nov. 21. Carreras is accused of barging into the house and shooting Woodson to death in front of his girlfriend.

Woodson’s family members described Carreras’ facial expression in court as an “evil smile.” 

“I feel like he had zero remorse for what he did,” Travis Woodson, Hunter Woodson’s uncle, told the Tribune. “He was proud of what he did. He was acting like he’s proud of it.”

Court documents obtained by the newspaper allege that Carreras went to Woodson’s home the afternoon of the shooting after the pair messaged back and forth about a marijuana sale. They initially smoked a joint so Carreras could test the drug Woodson was selling, but the younger teen did not have cash on him, so he left. 

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He came back later in the day to buy 1 ½ ounces of the drug. Woodson did not have that much marijuana on hand, but told Carreras that he did. 

While he sent his 17-year-old girlfriend out to collect Carreras’ cash, Woodson filled a small, pink plastic bag with paprika, salt, pepper and other spices and taped it shut, the affidavit said. When Woodson’s girlfriend delivered the fake marijuana to Carreras, he felt the bag and sensed that something was not right.

As he ripped the bag open, the girl ran into the house to warn Woodson, the Tribune reported

Carreras followed her inside and into Woodson’s bedroom, where the girl hid behind the door while Woodson took a fighting stance, the affidavit said. 

The girl told police that when Carreras walked into the room with a gun, Woodson asked, “What are you going to do about it, shoot me?”

Carreras did just that, firing “a lot of times” and causing Woodson to fall to the floor, the girl told investigators. He then stood over Woodson and continued shooting. 

Before he fled, he rifled through Woodson’s pockets for his cash, the affidavit said. 

Carreras was arrested less than 30 minutes later at his home, where officers found him trying to crawl under a car to hide, the Tribune said

Woodson’s obituary described him as a high school senior who, “after hitting a rough patch … was getting his life turned around.” He had started taking some college courses and was looking forward to the future, his family wrote.

“You could usually find Hunter with his shaggy hair and charismatic smile doing what he loved more than anything else, eating,” the obituary read

“Hunter loved skateboarding, playing football and doing MMA,” his family wrote. “He was training for his first fight. He also loved the outdoors and spending time with family.”

Police officials who searched Carreras’ home after the shooting found hundreds of pill bottles, guns, ammunition and two machetes in a shed on the property, the Tribune reported in December. They also found scales used to measure drug amounts and “marijuana shake,” or small bits of plant matter that remain after larger nuggets are bagged or used, on the floor.

When investigators opened the shed door, they found a man sitting inside with a sword, the Tribune reported. He dropped the weapon and was arrested without incident.

Prior to his move to the adult jail, Carreras was held in a juvenile detention facility. His pending assault charge stems from a Dec. 22 incident in which he is accused of kicking the leg of a juvenile detention staff member. 

2 more Carnival cruise ships fail health inspections

Two of the newest ships in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet have received failing grades in health inspections designed to control the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses

Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze both scored below a passing grade of 86, the Miami Herald reported.Vista, the cruise line's newest ship, received a 79 while Breeze was given a 77. 

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Vista's crew hid potentially hazardous food, equipment and dirty dishware from the inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control, the Herald reported. The buffet included fruit flies, and on-board illnesses were not documented appropriately, according to the December report by the CDC's Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

Previously, a November report cited a failing score of 78 for Carnival Triumph, an older ship that gained notoriety in 2013 when an engine room fire caused it to lose propulsion and left passengers with few working bathrooms and no air conditioning. 

RELATED: 300 who got sick on cruise ship back in South Florida

Three failing grades on three different ships within two months is fairly rare for a major cruise line, the Herald story said. Most failures involve smaller ships from lesser-known cruise lines, a maritime lawyer said.

Carnival said that the health and well-being of its guests and crew is its "foremost priority." Spokesman Jennifer De La Cruz said the company has "taken immediate action to address the issues identified during recent ship inspections."

Though it hasn't been published by the CDC, the Triumph was re-inspected and received a passing score of 98, De La Cruz said.

• More from the Miami Herald

Reports: North and South Korea to form joint Olympic team, march together in opening ceremony

South Korea and North Korea have agreed to create a joint Olympic team and march together in the opening ceremony in the next Winter Olympics, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

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The two countries met for the second time in a week Monday to discuss the possibility of creating a joint ice hockey team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The nations also agreed to create a joint North and South Korean women's ice hockey team for the Olympics in Pyeongchang. This will be the first unified team for the two countries since they joined together for an international table-tennis championship and a youth soccer match in 1991.

North and South Korea have never marched together under one flag in any Olympic games.

Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a far-ranging speech today in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.”

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She announced the death of Common Core, at least in her federal agency.

DeVos also decried the federal government’s initiatives to improve education. “We saw two presidents from different political parties and philosophies take two different approaches. Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too many of America’s students are still unprepared,” she said.

And she touched on a favorite topic, school choice.

“Choice in education is not when a student picks a different classroom in this building or that building, uses this voucher or that tax-credit scholarship. Choice in education is bigger than that. Those are just mechanisms,” she said. “It’s about freedom to learn. Freedom to learn differently. Freedom to explore. Freedom to fail, to learn from falling and to get back up and try again. It’s freedom to find the best way to learn and grow… to find the exciting and engaging combination that unlocks individual potential.”

Read DeVos’s speech at MyAJC.com.

How well would you do on the cognitive test President Trump took?

On Tuesday, Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson answered questions about President Donald Trump’s health, reporting that after last week’s physical exam, Trump was in “excellent” health.

In addition to a physical exam, Trump, Jackson said, asked that he be given a cognitive screening test – one that would test for signs of early dementia, for instance.

Jackson said Trump was given the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test – a series of questions asking the test taker to remember a list of words, recognize animals, draw a specific time on a clock and draw a cube, among other tasks.

How well did the president do on the test? He was perfect, Jackson said, getting 30 out of 30 possible points. A score of 26 or higher on the test is considered to be a normal result

Below is a MoCA test like the one the president took. Can you get 26 or higher?

Photo of Hawaii missile warning system was fake, officials say

The screen shot image of the alert system released by the governor of Hawaii in the wake of a false missile alarm being sent was inaccurate.

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The image was to supposed to be an example of what the operator who sent out the errant message saw, however state officials said that it was an example of options not the exact one the worker would have seen, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat

“We asked (Hawaii Emergency Management Agency) for a screenshot and that’s what they gave us,” Jodi Leong, spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige, told Civil Beat. “At no time did anybody tell me it wasn’t a screenshot.”

Residents received a message on their phones about a ballistic missile alert Saturday morning. Within minutes, Hawaii’s Emergency Management Association said on Twitter there was no threat. But it took officials almost 40 minutes to send out another alert that it was a false alarm.

They could not send the exact screen image of what the worker saw because of security concerns, said Richard Rapoza, spokesman for HEMA.

“That’s on us. That’s on our office, that an error was made in the way we handled the governor’s request,” Rapoza told Civil Beat. “The governor’s office wanted to know what did this look like and it should have been more fully explained to them. I personally apologize.”

Read transcript of Sen. Jeff Flake’s speech comparing Pres. Donald Trump to Josef Stalin

CNN has posted the transcript of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)’s speech on the floor of the Senate in which he compared statements made by President Donald Trump to those of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

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From CNN, as released prior to the speech

“Mr. President, near the beginning of the document that made us free, our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident ...’ So, from our very beginnings, our freedom has been predicated on truth. The founders were visionary in this regard, understanding well that good faith and shared facts between the governed and the government would be the very basis of this ongoing idea of America.

“As the distinguished former member of this body, Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, famously said: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." During the past year, I am alarmed to say that Senator Moynihan's proposition has likely been tested more severely than at any time in our history.

“It is for that reason that I rise today, to talk about the truth, and its relationship to democracy. For without truth, and a principled fidelity to truth and to shared facts, Mr. President, our democracy will not last.

“2017 was a year which saw the truth -- objective, empirical, evidence-based truth -- more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government. It was a year which saw the White House enshrine "alternative facts" into the American lexicon, as justification for what used to be known simply as good old-fashioned falsehoods. It was the year in which an unrelenting daily assault on the constitutionally-protected free press was launched by that same White House, an assault that is as unprecedented as it is unwarranted. "The enemy of the people," was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017.

“Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase "enemy of the people," that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of "annihilating such individuals" who disagreed with the supreme leader.

“This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially for those of us in the president's party. For they are shameful, repulsive statements. And, of course, the president has it precisely backward -- despotism is the enemy of the people. The free press is the despot's enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy. When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn't suit him "fake news," it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.

“I dare say that anyone who has the privilege and awesome responsibility to serve in this chamber knows that these reflexive slurs of "fake news" are dubious, at best. Those of us who travel overseas, especially to war zones and other troubled areas around the globe, encounter members of US based media who risk their lives, and sometimes lose their lives, reporting on the truth. To dismiss their work as fake news is an affront to their commitment and their sacrifice.

“According to the International Federation of Journalists, 80 journalists were killed in 2017, and a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists documents that the number of journalists imprisoned around the world has reached 262, which is a new record. This total includes 21 reporters who are being held on "false news" charges.

“Mr. President, so powerful is the presidency that the damage done by the sustained attack on the truth will not be confined to the president's time in office. Here in America, we do not pay obeisance to the powerful -- in fact, we question the powerful most ardently -- to do so is our birthright and a requirement of our citizenship -- and so, we know well that no matter how powerful, no president will ever have dominion over objective reality.

“No politician will ever get to tell us what the truth is and is not. And anyone who presumes to try to attack or manipulate the truth to his own purposes should be made to realize the mistake and be held to account. That is our job here. And that is just as Madison, Hamilton, and Jay would have it.

“Of course, a major difference between politicians and the free press is that the press usually corrects itself when it gets something wrong. Politicians don't.

“No longer can we compound attacks on truth with our silent acquiescence. No longer can we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to these assaults on our institutions. And Mr. President, an American president who cannot take criticism -- who must constantly deflect and distort and distract -- who must find someone else to blame -- is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the president adds to the danger.

“Now, we are told via Twitter that today the president intends to announce his choice for the ‘most corrupt and dishonest’ media awards. It beggars belief that an American president would engage in such a spectacle. But here we are.

“And so, 2018 must be the year in which the truth takes a stand against power that would weaken it. In this effort, the choice is quite simple. And in this effort, the truth needs as many allies as possible. Together, my colleagues, we are powerful. Together, we have it within us to turn back these attacks, right these wrongs, repair this damage, restore reverence for our institutions, and prevent further moral vandalism.

“Together, united in the purpose to do our jobs under the Constitution, without regard to party or party loyalty, let us resolve to be allies of the truth -- and not partners in its destruction.

“It is not my purpose here to inventory all of the official untruths of the past year. But a brief survey is in order. Some untruths are trivial -- such as the bizarre contention regarding the crowd size at last year's inaugural.

“But many untruths are not at all trivial -- such as the seminal untruth of the president's political career - the oft-repeated conspiracy about the birthplace of President Obama. Also not trivial are the equally pernicious fantasies about rigged elections and massive voter fraud, which are as destructive as they are inaccurate -- to the effort to undermine confidence in the federal courts, federal law enforcement, the intelligence community and the free press, to perhaps the most vexing untruth of all -- the supposed ‘hoax’ at the heart of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

“To be very clear, to call the Russia matter a ‘hoax’ -- as the president has many times -- is a falsehood. We know that the attacks orchestrated by the Russian government during the election were real and constitute a grave threat to both American sovereignty and to our national security. It is in the interest of every American to get to the bottom of this matter, wherever the investigation leads.

“Ignoring or denying the truth about hostile Russian intentions toward the United States leaves us vulnerable to further attacks. We are told by our intelligence agencies that those attacks are ongoing, yet it has recently been reported that there has not been a single cabinet-level meeting regarding Russian interference and how to defend America against these attacks. Not one. What might seem like a casual and routine untruth -- so casual and routine that it has by now become the white noise of Washington - is in fact a serious lapse in the defense of our country.

“Mr. President, let us be clear. The impulses underlying the dissemination of such untruths are not benign. They have the effect of eroding trust in our vital institutions and conditioning the public to no longer trust them. The destructive effect of this kind of behavior on our democracy cannot be overstated.

“Mr. President, every word that a president utters projects American values around the world. The values of free expression and a reverence for the free press have been our global hallmark, for it is our ability to freely air the truth that keeps our government honest and keeps a people free. Between the mighty and the modest, truth is the great leveler. And so, respect for freedom of the press has always been one of our most important exports.

“But a recent report published in our free press should raise an alarm. Reading from the story:

"In February...Syrian President Bashar Assad brushed off an Amnesty International report that some 13,000 people had been killed at one of his military prisons by saying, ‘You can forge anything these days, we are living in a fake news era.’

“In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has complained of being ‘demonized’ by ‘fake news.’ Last month, the report continues, with our President, quote ‘laughing by his side’ Duterte called reporters ‘spies.’

“In July, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro complained to the Russian propaganda outlet, that the world media had ‘spread lots of false versions, lots of lies’ about his country, adding, ‘This is what we call 'fake news' today, isn't it?’

“There are more:

“A state official in Myanmar recently said, ‘There is no such thing as Rohingya. It is fake news,’ referring to the persecuted ethnic group.

“Leaders in Singapore, a country known for restricting free speech, have promised ‘fake news’ legislation in the new year.’

“And on and on. This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr. President. Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language. This is reprehensible.

“We are not in a ‘fake news’ era, as Bashar Assad says. We are, rather, in an era in which the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself, to challenge free people and free societies, everywhere.

“In our own country, from the trivial to the truly dangerous, it is the range and regularity of the untruths we see that should be cause for profound alarm, and spur to action. Add to that the by-now predictable habit of calling true things false, and false things true, and we have a recipe for disaster. As George Orwell warned, ‘The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.’

“Any of us who have spent time in public life have endured news coverage we felt was jaded or unfair. But in our positions, to employ even idle threats to use laws or regulations to stifle criticism is corrosive to our democratic institutions. Simply put: it is the press's obligation to uncover the truth about power. It is the people's right to criticize their government. And it is our job to take it.

“What is the goal of laying siege to the truth? President John F. Kennedy, in a stirring speech on the 20th anniversary of the Voice of America, was eloquent in answer to that question:

‘We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.’

“Mr. President, the question of why the truth is now under such assault may well be for historians to determine. But for those who cherish American constitutional democracy, what matters is the effect on America and her people and her standing in an increasingly unstable world -- made all the more unstable by these very fabrications. What matters is the daily disassembling of our democratic institutions.

“We are a mature democracy -- it is well past time that we stop excusing or ignoring -- or worse, endorsing -- these attacks on the truth. For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost.

“I sincerely thank my colleagues for their indulgence today. I will close by borrowing the words of an early adherent to my faith that I find has special resonance at this moment. His name was John Jacques, and as a young missionary in England he contemplated the question: ‘What is truth?’ His search was expressed in poetry and ultimately in a hymn that I grew up with, titled ‘Oh Say, What is Truth.’ It ends as follows:

‘Then say, what is truth? 'Tis the last and the first,

For the limits of time it steps o'er.

Tho the heavens depart and the earth's fountains burst.

Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,

Eternal... unchanged... evermore.’

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.”

Sen. Jeff Flake takes to Senate floor to condemn Pres. Trump’s language, comparing it to Stalin’s

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) used the floor of the U.S. Senate to fire directly back at President Donald Trump, comparing the commander-in-chief’s words to those of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Flake stated that Trump has used statements also used by Stalin against his enemies.

>> Read more trending news 

CBS News reported that Flake, in an excerpt released prior to his speech Wednesday, said, “Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. ... It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

Flake said that Trump has used the term “enemy of the people” in describing the free press last year, CNBC reported.

Flake reached out via Twitter earlier this week that he was not saying that Trump was like Stalin, clarifying the intent of his speech, saying that Stalin was a maniacal killer. 

Steve Bannon strikes deal in Mueller probe: reports

Steve Bannon has struck a deal to be interviewed by a special prosecutor in the Robert Mueller investigation, according to reports.

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Check back for the latest updates in this developing story.

Florida man brutally murders ex-wife after fight over infidelity, sheriff says 

46-year-old Florida man is being charged with second-degree murder after he brutally beat and stomped his ex-wife to death, a sheriff said.

Michael Cummings and his ex-wife, Faith L. Cummings, 44, began arguing over infidelity on Thursday in the garage of their Palm Coast home, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said.

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The fight escalated with Faith L. Cummings fleeing to a bathroom. Her ex-husband — they divorced in 2015, but moved back in together to rekindle the relationship — followed her and attacked her, according to a news release

Faith suffered multiple broken bones, including every rib with multiple fractures, as well as kicking and stomping injuries, according to the county medical examiner. Blood splatter indicated that she was hit with a weapon, investigators reported.

Her cause of death was ruled “blunt force trauma to the head with asphyxiation.” 

When deputies first arrived at the home, Staly said, Michael Cummings refused to leave, and as a result he was charged with obstruction of justice. He told authorities that Faith slipped and fell in the bathtub, but by the time deputies arrived she had been dead for hours. 

After realizing what he had done, he had tried to hide his crime, Staly said during a news conference. 

On Monday afternoon, Cummings was charged with second-degree murder with a weapon and booked into the Flagler County Detention Facility with no bond. 

“This case again proves that you never know what is going on behind closed doors,” Staly said. “Often, domestic violence is hidden from others and the victim is living with their attacker. This case shows just how fast a domestic argument can spiral out of control and into a murder.”

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