Trump calls fired watchdog in probe a ‘disgrace’

WASHINGTON | President Donald Trump on Saturday criticized the ousted inspector general who handled an anonymous whistleblower’s complaint that sparked his impeachment as a “disgrace” and suggested that the independent watchdog should have discussed the complaint with him.

Trump informed Congress late Friday night that he was firing Michael Atkinson, saying in letters to the House and Senate intelligence committees that he had lost confidence in Atkinson. Atkinson’s removal is part of a larger shakeup of the intelligence community under Trump, who has always viewed intelligence professionals with skepticism.

Divers search for Townsend’s daughter and grandson

ANNAPOLIS, Md. | Divers and boats on Saturday resumed the search in the Chesapeake Bay for the bodies of the daughter and a grandson of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Maryland police said.

The search began Thursday afternoon after a report of a canoe in the bay that didn’t return to shore and appeared to be overtaken by strong winds. The search was suspended Saturday night and would resume Sunday morning, a Maryland Natural Resources Police news release said.

The missing canoeists were identified as Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and McKean’s 8-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean.

“With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery,” Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said in a statement Friday night.

Starmer picked to lead U.K. Labour amid virus crisis

LONDON | Lawyer and lawmaker Keir Starmer was elected leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party on Saturday by a decisive margin, after a contest thrown into turmoil by the coronavirus outbreak.

A special conference to announce the winner was scrapped when the nation went into lockdown, and the news came in a press release accompanied by a pre-recorded acceptance speech.

Starmer, 57, comes from Labour’s center-left wing, and his election marks a shift from the more strongly socialist course set by his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.

Starmer acknowledged that he was becoming leader of the opposition “at a moment like none other in our lifetime” and promised to “engage constructively” with the Conservative government to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Man in France kills 2, terror inquiry opened

PARIS | A man wielding a knife attacked residents of a French town while they ventured out to shop amid a nationwide coronavirus lockdown Saturday, killing two people and wounding five others in an act that led authorities to open a terrorism inquiry.

France’s counter-terrorism prosecutor’s office said the assailant was arrested near the scene of the attack in the town of Romans-sur-Isere, south of Lyon, as he was kneeling on the sidewalk praying in Arabic. It said one of his acquaintances also was detained.

Prosecutors said he had no identifying documents but claimed to be Sudanese and to have been born in 1987.

Mormons hold crowd-less conference due to pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY | Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sat 6 feet apart inside an empty room as the faith carried out its signature conference Saturday by adhering to social distancing guidelines that offered a stark reminder of how the global coronavirus pandemic is affecting religious practices.

Speeches that largely commemorated the 200th anniversary of events that to the creation of the church by founder Joseph Smith were made in a small auditorium in Salt Lake City and livestreamed to members around the world. It was the faith’s first crowd-less conference since World War II, when wartime travel restrictions were in place.

During a subsequent search of his home, authorities found handwritten documents that included arguments about religion and a complaint about living in a “country of unbelievers,” officials said.

— From AP reports