Jun 13, 2019

Michigan drops charges in Flint water probe, pledges new investigation

Photo: ehrlif/Getty Images

Michigan's attorney general announced the state is dropping cases against the 8 former and current officials accused of not alerting the public about the safety of drinking water in Flint, and will launch a new investigation from scratch, reports the New York Times.

The big picture: Prosecutors, who say the scope of the investigation expanded after they received millions of new documents this week, said "missteps" by the previous attorney general's office contributed to this decision, per the Times. Some Flint residents who have long sought justice told the Times that the dropping of all charges could reopen fresh wounds and signal that their crisis is being "forgotten."

"Our team’s efforts have produced the most comprehensive body of evidence to date related to the Flint water crisis. We are now in the best possible position to find the answers the citizens of Flint deserve and hold all responsible parties accountable."
— Statement from prosecutors

Backdrop: Flint's drinking water has significantly improved, but residents are still wary.

  • The criminal investigations started 3 years ago, with 15 officials initially charged. Of those officials, 7 pleaded no contest to misdemeanors and are likely to have their records wiped.
  • Michigan's former health director Nick Lyon was charged with involuntary manslaughter and for not alerting the public about the contaminated water in a timely manner, per the AP. Prosecutors said it is possible that Lyon and others could be charged again.

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In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the "Namaste Trump" rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump was addressing a massive rally after arriving with members of the U.S. first family in Ahmedabad, northwest India, Monday for a two-day visit.

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties, particularly in the military dimension, as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is demonstrating the importance of the visit by holding a "Namaste Trump Rally" at a packed 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world's largest cricket venue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 39 mins ago - World

Concern over coronavirus spread: Italy, South Korea and Iran report more cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran jumped on Sunday as infections in mainland China continued to grow, the latest figures show.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures amid rising case numbers, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy