People also are talking about a Republican saying 'we should hang' some Democrats and why a killer is suing his victim's parents.
Teens killed by mom's boyfriend over smoking argument
An argument between a Connecticut teenager and her mother's boyfriend over his smoking in the house turned deadly after the man shot the 15-year-old and her 16-year-old brother on Tuesday night and then killed himself, according to the Watertown Police Department.
Della Jette and Sterling Jette Jr. were transported to Waterbury Hospital where they both were pronounced dead shortly after arrival, according to a news release from the Watertown Police Department. Their mother, identified by CNN affiliate WTNH as Danielle Jette, was on the scene when the shootings occurred and called 911, police said. She was not injured.
Paul W. Ferguson, 42, was pronounced dead at the scene from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said in the news release.
He had moved into the home two weeks before the incident, police said.
The argument began after Della Jette grew upset by Ferguson smoking in the house, Watertown Police detective and spokesman Mark Conway told CNN. Ferguson got a gun from his bedroom and shot Sterling Jette -- who had attempted to intervene -- in the leg, Watertown Chief of Police John C. Gavallas said in a news conference covered by WTNH.
"The mother went downstairs to call 911 when she heard a second gunshot, presumably when he shot the daughter on the deck" Gavallas said. "He came back in the house and shot the son in the chest."
Watertown Police were called to the home at around 9:47 p.m. and arrived to find the teenagers suffering from life-threatening injuries. They were transported to an area hospital where they both died, police said.
The teenagers' deaths were ruled homicides by the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Wednesday.
Ferguson was a convicted felon and not authorized to possess a firearm, according to police. He was convicted of first-degree unlawful restraint after an arrest on a sexual assault charge in 2007, Conway said.
Police said both teens were students at Kaynor Technical High School.
Watertown detectives, the Connecticut State Police and the Waterbury States Attorney's Office are investigating the incident. Police say Jette is cooperating with investigators.
This is not the first tragedy to occur at the Connecticut home, police said.
Police responded to the home three years ago when Danielle Jette's husband and Della and Sterling's father, Sterling Jette Sr., fatally shot himself after a minor domestic dispute, Conway said.
France shuts down as mass strike hits trains, Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower shut down, France's vaunted high-speed trains stood still and teachers walked off the job as unions launched nationwide strikes and protests Thursday over the government's plan to overhaul the retirement system.
Paris authorities barricaded the presidential palace and deployed 6,000 police as activists - many in yellow vests representing France's year-old movement for economic justice - gathered for a major march through the capital.
Organizers hope for a mass outpouring of anger at President Emmanuel Macron for his centerpiece reform, seen as threatening the hard-fought French way of life. Macron himself remained "calm and determined" to push it through, according to a top presidential official.
The Louvre Museum warned of strike disruptions, and Paris hotels struggled to fill rooms. Many visitors - including the U.S. energy secretary - canceled plans to travel to one of the world's most-visited countries amid the strike.
Unprepared tourists discovered historic train stations standing empty Thursday, with about nine out of 10 of high-speed TGV trains canceled. Signs at Paris' Orly Airport showed "canceled" notices, as the civil aviation authority announced 20% of flights were grounded.
Some travelers showed support for the striking workers, but others complained about being embroiled in someone else's fight.
"I arrived at the airport this morning and I had no idea about the strike happening, and I was waiting for two hours in the airport for the train to arrive and it didn't arrive," said vacationer Ian Crossen, from New York. "I feel a little bit frustrated. And I've spent a lot of money. I've spent money I didn't need to, apparently."
Vladimir Madeira, a Chilean tourist who had traveled to Paris for vacation, said the strike has been "a nightmare." He hadn't heard about the protest until he arrived in Paris, and transport disruptions had foiled his plans to travel directly to Zurich on Thursday.
Beneath the closed Eiffel Tower, tourists from Thailand, Canada and Spain echoed those sentiments.
Subway stations across Paris were shuttered, complicating traffic - and prompting many commuters to use shared bikes or electric scooters despite near-freezing temperatures. Many workers in the Paris region worked from home or took a day off to stay with their children, since 78% of teachers in the capital were on strike.
Bracing for possible violence and damage along the route of the Paris march, police ordered all businesses, cafes and restaurants in the area to close. Authorities also issued a ban on protests on the Champs-Elysees avenue, around the presidential palace, parliament and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Police carried out security checks of more than 3,000 people arriving for the protest and detained 18 even before it started. Embassies warned tourists to avoid the protest area.
Elsewhere around France, thousands of red-vested union activists marched through cities from Marseille on the Mediterranean to Lille in the north.
The big question is how long the strike will last. Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said she expects the travel troubles to be just as bad Friday.
Unions say it's an open-ended movement and hope to keep up momentum at least for a week, in hopes of forcing the government to make concessions.
Public sector workers fear Macron's reform will force them to work longer and shrink their pensions. And they see this fight as crucial to saving France's social safety net. Some private sector workers welcome the reform, but others support the strike.
Classic Blue gets the nod as Pantone's 'color of the year'
In these uneasy times, as we move along to a new decade, the Pantone Color Institute has reached back in time to calming, confident Classic Blue as its color of the year for 2020.
The color is an anchor offering stability, constancy and connection, said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the global purveyors of color consulting, trendspotting and analysis.
"It's a reassuring presence," she told The Associated Press ahead of Wednesday's reveal.
Akin to maritime blue — not indigo and brighter than navy — Classic Blue evokes a feeling of vast expanse, Pressman said of the shade also known as Pantone 19-4052.
Pressman and her team scoured the worlds of art, fashion and home decor, along with commercial, graphic and industrial design, to come up with the pick, as they have since Cerulean became the inaugural color of the year for the milestone 2000.
But Classic Blue isn't just about nostalgia, she said. Creators around the globe are putting out modern takes for runways, mobile phones, kitchen appliances and the paint of pricey, forward-looking cars and motorcycles.
At Wednesday's launch event, Pressman insisted the color was in no way a nod to the hue associated with the Democratic Party, though she knew the question would surface.
"This was not a political move for us. This is global. We do not look at color through a political lens. We look at our life through a colorful lens," she told the AP.
Pantone chose Living Coral for 2019 and Ultra Violet the year before that.
Whether as throwback or harbinger of things to come, Classic Blue harkens back to when things "seemed simpler, seemed more comfortable, but at the same time not suggesting that it be done in a way that it was then," Pressman said.
Classic Blue is a vibrant yet non-aggressive and easily relatable color, she said. It's also among nature's anthocyanin pigments possessing antioxidant and other health-fostering benefits.
"Many of us feel stressed, completely overloaded," Pressman said. "We live these 24/7 lifestyles. We're anxious. There's so much uncertainty and unrest, no matter where you are. With that we've seen this whole increased focus on wellness and self-care."
Republican candidate says 'we should hang' treasonous Democrats
Local and national GOP leaders distanced themselves Wednesday from a Florida congressional candidate who sent a fundraising letter stating that "anti-American radical Democrats" should be hung for treason.
George Buck, one of six Republican primary candidates for Florida's 13th Congressional District, referred to several Democrats but in particular to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota. Omar was born in Somalia and came to the U.S. as a child.
In the recent letter to potential donors, he said that "we should hang" Omar and other "traitors" for "abusing our system to destroy our country." He mentioned "tinfoil hat accusations" against President Donald Trump, but didn't elaborate.
Buck's letter cited an unverified story that Omar is an asset of a foreign government who passed information to another foreign government. Omar has denied the report, calling it "outlandishly absurd" in a statement.
"For all their false, tinfoil-hat accusations of President Trump, the Democrats have foreign assets among their most outspoken leadership!" the letter read. "We should hang these traitors where they stand. I have no tolerance for those who are abusing our system to destroy our country."
Buck previously had been on the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" program, which mentors and supports candidates in races across the country. Chris Pack, the committee's communications director, said in an email Wednesday that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy decided to remove Buck from the program with the support of NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer.
Todd Jennings, chairman of Republicans in Pinellas County, linked via Facebook to a Tampa Bay Times report on the letter, and wrote: "There is no room for this kind of rhetoric in either political party. No one should ever condone a candidate's call for violence."
Buck did not respond to an email sent via his website or to a telephone message. Buck initially told the Times he didn't write the email, though it was signed by him. "I would never talk like that," he said.
In a follow-up statement, Buck appeared to stand by the campaign's email. "Anyone who commits treason against the United States should be tried to the full extent of the law," Buck said, adding that death is a possible punishment for treason. He declined to elaborate.
Once-a-month birth control pill? Animal tests show promise
Birth control pills work great if women remember to take them every day but missing doses can mean a surprise pregnancy. Now scientists have figured out how to pack a month's supply into one capsule.
The trick: A tiny star-shaped gadget that unfolds in the stomach and gradually releases the drug.
The experimental capsule is still years away from drugstores, but researchers reported Wednesday that it worked as designed in a key test in animals. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is investing $13 million for further development of the once-a-month pill, in hopes of eventually improving family planning options in developing countries.
"It has a lot of potential," said Dr. Beatrice Chen, a family planning specialist at the University of Pittsburgh, who wasn't involved in the new research. "Birth control is not one-size-fits-all," and women need more options.
Today, women who want the convenience of long-lasting contraception can choose among various devices, from a weekly patch to a monthly vaginal ring to an IUD that lasts for years.
It wasn't clear that "the Pill" — one of the most popular forms of birth control because it's cheap and easy to use — ever could join that list. Pills of all sorts generally pass through the body in a day.
A team from the lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology inventor Robert Langer engineered a fix to protect pills from the harsh environment of the digestive system.
"We developed this capsule system that looks like a starfish, that can stay in the stomach several days, weeks, even a month at a time," said Dr. Giovanni Traverso of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, a senior author of the study.
The star-shaped device has six arms, and each holds a certain medication dose. The device is folded inside an ordinary-sized capsule. Swallow the capsule and stomach acid dissolves the coating, letting the star unfold. It's too big to fit through the stomach's exit but not big enough to cause an obstruction. As medication dissolves out of each of the arms, the device breaks down until it can safely pass through the digestive system.
Florida man who killed teen sues victim's family and attorneys
Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, is suing the teen's parents, family attorney, the attorney's book publisher and prosecutors who tried his case, claiming he was defamed when they allowed a witness to give false testimony in an attempt to incriminate him.
Zimmerman's lawsuit, filed Wednesday, said a trial witness pretended to be the last person to talk to Martin by phone before he was killed when the witness was actually the half-sister of the caller.
According to the lawsuit, Brittany Diamond Eugene didn't want to testify that she had been talking to Martin before he was killed. So her half-sister, Rachel Jeantel, pretended that she was talking to the teen before he was fatally shot. Jeantel ended up testifying at Zimmerman's 2013 trial in Sanford, Florida.
Martin was killed during a struggle with Zimmerman, who was a Neighborhood Watch volunteer.
Martin was black. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic. Zimmerman's trial raised questions about race and Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law which allows people to use force without retreating if they feel threatened.
In a statement on Wednesday, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump called the allegations "unfounded and reckless."
"This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, re-victimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions. He would have us believe that he is the innocent victim of a deep conspiracy, despite the complete lack of any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims," Crump's statement said. "This tale defies all logic, and it's time to close the door on these baseless imaginings."
Zimmerman's lawyer in the lawsuit, Larry Klayman, was planning a news conference in South Florida on Thursday to discuss the complaint. The lawsuit, filed in a central Florida county where Zimmerman is now living, seeks $100 million for allegations of malicious prosecution and conspiracy.
Klayman is a conservative activist who founded the watchdog group, Judicial Watch. Last July, an ethics committee of the bar in the District of Columbia recommended that Klayman's law license be suspended for more than two years.