Dustin Steinhoff, News Editor

Local

A police officer on patrol found a dog with its legs and mouth wrapped in tape in a ditch after it was thrown from a car in Jefferson County Feb. 9.

The dog is believed to have been tied up and left in the ditch for 12 hours before the officer’s arrival. The officer took notice of the dog while on patrol in the Antonia area, off State Road M and Schneider Road.

The dog was malnourished, possibly concussed and cold from the low temperatures of the night before. The dog was treated at Ivan Animal Hospital before being cared for at the Jefferson County Animal Control.

Police were able to identify the suspect as Paul Garcia through the fingerprints that were left on the duct tape. Garcia was charged with animal abuse and armed criminal action and taken into custody Feb. 14 with bail set at $50,000.

Garcia was not the dog’s owner. However, on Feb. 15 the dog’s rightful owner came and took her dog home.

National

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency that would allow him to obtain billions of dollars to fund his proposed border wall Feb. 15.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency comes after Congress’ spending plan was finalized without providing the $5.7 billion he has demanded for border security.

Congress’ spending package totaled $333 billion with the agreement to provide $1.38 billion for 55 miles of steel-post fencing with $49 billion total being allocated to the Department of Homeland Security. The spending agreement is nearly identical to the border security provisions described in the original spending budget which Trump rejected last year, resulting in the 35-day partial government shutdown.

The agreement also set restrictions of how much of the wall is built and what materials can be used to construct it. According to the spending plan, the fencing can only be built in the Rio Grande Valley and communities located along the U.S. and Mexico border will be able to have a say in where the fencing is built. In terms of what materials will be used to construct it, only “existing technologies” are allowed, which prohibits new prototypes that could have been put into place by the current administration.

According to The New York Times, after Congress came to their bipartisan budget agreement to prevent another government shutdown, Trump was preparing to shut down the deal before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell convinced him to sign the deal. In return, McConnell agreed to back Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency the following day.

In an announcement televised from the Rose Garden, Trump announced his plan to sign the national emergency declaration in order to combat national security threats from Mexico.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other,” Trump said. “It’s an invasion,” he added. “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”

International

Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the Vatican’s envoy to France, is currently being investigated for sexual assault. Ventura has served as a diplomat for Pope Francis in Paris since 2009.

According to CNN, Ventura’s investigation is being performed by the Paris prosecutor’s office and began Jan. 24. Ventura is accused of inappropriately touching a junior male official who was working at Paris city hall. Paris city hall is who filed a complaint with the Paris prosecutor.

While the Vatican embassy in Paris has not commented on the investigation, the Vatican announced that the Holy See was made aware of the investigations toward Ventura and are awaiting the results.