National coverage


Albany, New York

The National Rifle Association is banned from marketing insurance in New York for 5 years and will pay $2.5 million to settle an investigation into “dangerous” policies promoted to gun owners as a way to cover costs in self-defense shooting, the Associated Press reported.

The New York State Department of Financial Services announced the consent order with the powerful gun advocacy group after a 3-year investigation. State regulators said the NRA violated insurance laws and regulations by acting as an insurance producer without a license by taking part in efforts to solicit and market insurance products, including the NRA’s Carry Guard program, according to AP.

Carry Guard insurance was launched in 2017 and was promoted to gun owners as needed coverage to help cover civil and criminal legal costs in the case they shot someone in self-defense. Gun control advocates called it “murder insurance” in the belief it would encourage gun owners to shoot rather than avoid confrontation, AP reported.

The NRA filed its own lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, claiming her actions against the group were motivated by her hostility toward its political advocacy. William Brewer, counsel to the NRA, said the NRA’s claims against James, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services will go forward, according to AP.

New York

A rapper who said he was making a tribute to a legendary New York City hip-hop group was recorded shooting a flamethrower from the top of an occupied city bus in an unsanctioned stunt a transit agency spokesman called “absurd, dangerous and just plain stupid,” the Associated Press reported.

Bystander video taken in Brooklyn earlier this month, gained attention on social media Tuesday after a police union tweeted it as an example of the city becoming less safe. The police department said it was investigating the November 8 incident. The city’s transit agency said it was an unauthorized event performed by the rapper G.O.D., who said in an Instagram post he was shooting a video tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan, according to AP.

Dupree, who also refers to himself as the Flame G.O.D., posted drone footage of the effort. In an earlier Instagram post, he invited people to the area for ice cream, T-shirts and champagne. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said 25 passengers on the bus were discharged at the next stop and picked up by the next bus on the route. No injuries were reported, according to AP.

“We don’t even need to say how absurd, dangerous and just plain stupid this was,” MTA spokesperson Tim Minton said. “The reckless individual who torched across the top of an unoccupied bus put New Yorkers, including the bus operator, in life-threatening peril.”

Reno, Nevada

A day after a wind-whipped wildfire in Northern Nevada roared through a neighborhood in Reno and destroyed at least five houses, more than 1,000 people who were forced to evacuate started returning home Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Another fire about 100 miles south and across the border in California also exploded in strong winds Tuesday killing one person, driving hundreds from the homes and destroying 80 structures in and around a small community, including some houses, according to AP.

Rains overnight helped keep the flames down in both places. Crews in Reno had feared another lashing of strong winds would revive the fire Wednesday, but those conditions subsided. They even got better control of the flames which damaged 15 other structures near the Sierra Nevada foothills. The fire was halfway contained, and they expected to have it fully contained Friday, AP reported.

Nevada is experiencing drought, with much of it in extreme drought, and it’s moved in studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning coal, oil and gas, which has made part of the Western U.S. much drier and more flammable, according to AP.

Terre Haute, Indiana

The federal government prepared Thursday to execute an inmate who was condemned for kidnapping and raping a 6-year-old Texas girl, bludgeoning her with a shovel and burying her alive, the Associated Press reported.

Orlando Hall is scheduled to die by injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. He would be the eighth federal inmate put to death since the Trump administration resumed federal executions this year after a pause of nearly two decades without one. Late court appeals argue bias played a role in his death sentence. His lawyers also contend restrictions and concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic have limited their ability to help him, according to AP.

The Congressional Black Caucus sent a litter Thursday to Attorney General William Barr, citing concerns about the virus in urging a stay of execution. The letter stated COVID-19 “will make any scheduled execution a tinderbox for further outbreaks and exacerbate concerns regarding the possibility of miscarriage of justice,” AP reported.