In brief: Chicago marks 500th homicide
Chicago – Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Friday the city has logged its 500th homicide of the year. Nathaniel Jackson, 40, became the 500th homicide victim when he was fatally shot in the head outside a convenience store on the city’s West Side.
McCarthy issued a statement calling the milestone a “tragic number that is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods.”
The last time Chicago reached the 500-homicide mark was in 2008, when the year ended with 512 killings. Last year, city records show Chicago had 435 homicides.
Bush reported better, and singing
Houston – Former President George H.W. Bush remained in intensive care at a Houston hospital on Friday but his condition continues to improve, a spokesman said.
“The president is alert and, as always, in good spirits – and his exchanges with doctors and nurses now include singing,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a brief statement.
The 88-year-old Bush, the nation’s oldest living former president, was admitted to Methodist Hospital in Houston on Nov. 23 because of a bronchitis-related cough, after spending about a week there earlier in November for the same condition.
Jean Becker, Bush’s Houston chief of staff, said the former president would likely be in the hospital for a while, noting his age and that “he had a terrible case of bronchitis which then triggered a series of complications.”
Becker said “most of the civilized world” contacted her after word spread that Bush had been placed in the intensive care unit.
Santa followers set NORAD record
Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. – NORAD says it drew a record number of phone calls and social media followers during its NORAD Tracks Santa operation on Christmas Eve.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command said Friday volunteers answered more than 114,000 calls, up 12,000 from 2011.
NORAD’s Santa Facebook page had more than 1.2 million followers, up from about 1 million last year. More than 129,000 people followed on Twitter, up from 101,000 last year.
NORAD got 11,000 emails, up from 7,700 in 2011.
More than 1,250 volunteers answered phone calls, including first lady Michelle Obama.
NORAD Tracks Santa began in 1955 when a newspaper listed the wrong number for children to call Santa. They wound up calling the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD’s predecessor.
The operation is based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.