Wednesday morning news: August 7, 2019

Investigators: Dayton shooter had history of obsession with violence » Investigators continue to dig through evidence related to the weekend mass shootings. 

FBI special agent Todd Wickerham said Monday that the bureau is still working to answer several questions related to the attack in Dayton, Ohio. 

WICKERHAM: What if any ideology influenced the attack to conduct this attack. Who, if anyone, helped him or had any advance knowledge of his intentions to conduct this attack, and why he committed this specific act of violence. 

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said evidence suggests there were plenty of red flags surrounding the 24-year-old gunman. 

BIEHL: The materials reviewed thus far reveal that the individual had a history of obsession with violent ideations to include mass shootings and had expressed a desire to commit a mass shooting. 

High school classmates said the attacker once compiled a hit list of classmates he wanted to assault or kill. 

A Twitter account that appeared to belong to the shooter promoted extreme left-wing groups like Antifa and retweeted anti-police messages. 

The bio information for that account read in part—quote—”metalhead / leftist / I’m going to hell and I’m not coming back.”—end quote. And one tweet from that account used the hashtag #HailSatan

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Monday unveiled proposals to prevent future attacks. He’s pushing for laws to make it tougher for those with mental health issues or violent tendencies to get guns. 

DEWINE: We have to empower people to get help for family or loved ones who may be a danger to themselves or a danger to others.

The Republican governor also proposed requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales in Ohio.

Jon Huntsman resigns as ambassador to Russia » Jon Huntsman is stepping down as U.S. Ambassador to Russia. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: In his resignation letter, Huntsman said he was honored by the trust Trump placed in him. And he called this a “historically difficult period” in the relationship between the two countries. He also urged the U.S. to hold Russia accountable for behavior that threatens its allies. 

Huntsman has served as ambassador to Russia since 2017. He’s expected to serve through October 3rd.

The former Utah governor said he wants to reconnect with family. But his departure comes amid speculation that he may once again run for governor.

Huntsman left the governor’s office in 2009, when President Obama tapped him as ambassador to China. He had just been elected to his second term the year before. He later mounted a brief run for the 2012 Republican nomination for president.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Trump admin turns up pressure on Maduro » The Trump administration on Monday froze all of the Venezuelan government’s assets in the United States. It also banned Americans from doing business with disputed Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro or any of his top allies. 

The order cited Maduro’s—quote—“continued usurpation of power” as well as human rights abuses.

National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday…

BOLTON: This goes well beyond anything we’ve done before and really is a very strong move by the president. 

Eight months have passed since Juan Guaidó invoked a measure in Venezuela’s constitution to become the country’s rightful interim president. But Maduro has refused to step down. 

China stabilizes currency after markets dive » China stabilized its currency on Tuesday—a day after Beijing sent markets tumbling by letting the yuan fall to an 11-year low. 

A weaker yuan can help neutralize U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods by making them more price-competitive globally. 

On Monday the Trump administration officially declared China to be a currency manipulator, something China denies. The declaration paves the way to possible new penalties on top of tariff hikes. 

The Chinese central bank governor tried to reassure markets, promising in a statement late Monday “not to use exchange rates for competitive purposes.”

China warns Hong Kong protesters » Also on Tuesday, China issued a stern warning to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: A spokesman for the Chinese government said it will be “only a matter of time” before it punishes those behind two months of demonstrations.  

In a press conference, Yang Guang said “We would like to make it clear to the very small group of unscrupulous and violent criminals and the dirty forces behind them: Those who play with fire will perish by it.” 

He added: “Don’t ever misjudge the situation and mistake our restraint for weakness.”

The comments further indicate that Beijing will take a hard line against the demonstrators and it has no plans to negotiate political reforms.

The Chinese government so far has not visibly intervened in the situation. But many fear the Communist central government will use military force to quell the protests. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Toni Morrison dies at 88 »  The first African American woman ever to win a Nobel Prize for Literature died on Monday after a brief illness at the age of 88. 

Toni Morrison’s novels explored the experiences of African American women throughout U.S. history. She wrote bestsellers such as Sula and Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1988. 

The violent and sexually graphic content of her works divided readers and sparked debates among English teachers and school librarians. But she still won the admiration of celebrities and politicians. President Obama awarded her the presidential medal of freedom in 2012.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman testifies during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination to become the U.S. ambassador to Russia, on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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