CHICAGO (AP) — Actor Jussie Smollett was indicted for a second time on charges of lying to police about a racist and anti-gay attack he allegedly staged on himself in downtown Chicago, renewing a divisive criminal case that drew worldwide attention last year.
The indictment came from a special prosecutor who was appointed after Cook County prosecutors dropped the same charges last March.
The new charges were sure to reignite many of the tensions that surrounded Smollett a year ago. When his claims first emerged, he drew a groundswell of support from fans and celebrities and gave an emotional television interview about the attack.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb said in a statement that Smollett faces six felony counts of disorderly conduct, charges that stem from four separate false reports that he gave to police in which he contended he was a victim of a hate crime “knowing that he was not the victim of a crime.”
Smollett, who is black and gay, was originally charged with disorderly conduct last February for allegedly staging the attack and lying about it to investigators. The allegations were dropped the following month with little explanation, angering police officials and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s health ministry said that 39 new cases of a virus have been confirmed on a cruise ship quarantined at a Japanese port.
The update brings the total found on the Diamond Princess to 174 cases.
The ministry also said the virus was confirmed in a official who participated in the initial quarantine checks the night the ship returned to Yokohama Port near Tokyo on Feb. 3. The quarantine official is being treated in the hospital.
The new cases brings Japan’s total to 203 people infected by the the new virus, COVID-19.
The night of the ship’s arrival, Japanese health officials began medical checks on all of the ship’s 3,700 passengers and crew after one previous passenger tested positive for the virus.
The U.S.-operated Diamond Princess had completed a 14-day tour during which it stopped at Hong Kong and several other Asian ports before returning to Japan.
Japanese government and tour company officials have said they were notified by Hong Kong that an 80-year-old male passenger who got off the boat there later tested positive for the virus.
COVID-19 is a coronavirus that emerged in China in December.
BEIRUT (AP) — Rebels shot down a Syrian military helicopter in northern Syria, killing its crew members in a fiery crash, while the government kept up its relentless bombing campaign on the opposition-held region, with an airstrike in which seven civilians died, activists and news reports said.
The violence in Idlib province came as government troops moved closer to capturing the last rebel-controlled section of a strategic highway linking southern and northern Syria, which would bring the road under the full control of President Bashar Assad’s forces for the first time since 2012.
With support from Russia and Iran, Syrian troops have been on the offensive for weeks in Idlib and parts of nearby Aleppo provinces, unleashing a humanitarian crisis with 700,000 people fleeing their homes and surging north toward the Turkish border.
Nearly a quarter of the 3 million people in Idlib and nearby areas have fled. Terrified families piled onto trucks and other vehicles, clogging muddy rural roads in yet another harrowing exodus in the conflict, now in its ninth year. Hundreds of civilians have died in the latest fighting, according to the United Nations.
The Syrian helicopter gunship was shot down by insurgents amid fighting near the village of Nairab as rebels, backed by Turkish artillery, tried to retake it after losing it last week, according to opposition activists.