U.S. punishes Nicaraguan officials for violent demonstrations

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced Thursday it will yank visas from several Nicaraguan officials it blames for the country’s response to a wave of anti-government demonstrations in which state security forces have killed dozens of people.

This was the first punitive action taken by the administration as international condemnation of the government of President Daniel Ortega has grown. In Washington this week, as the Organization of American States took up the issue of Nicaragua turmoil, citizens from the Central American country staged protests outside local hotels.

The violence is “undermining democracy,” the State Department said, in a country that has steadily come under autocratic rule by Ortega and his family.

“The political violence by police and pro-government thugs against the people of Nicaragua, particularly university students, shows a blatant disregard for human rights and is unacceptable,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Nauert would not identify the Nicaraguans who will not be allowed to travel to the United States, citing privacy rules, except to say they included police commanders and regional and national officials.

—Tribune Washington Bureau

Scott Pruitt reportedly had his EPA security detail track down his favorite body lotion

Scandal-scarred EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has reportedly been enlisting members of his security detail to buy him his favorite moisturizing lotion — and the New York Daily News has tracked down the brand he prefers.

People familiar with the matter told The Washington Post on Thursday that Pruitt directed his security guards to chase down a particular lotion on offer at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C.

The sources didn’t clarify what particular lotion Pruitt liked, but a housekeeper at the Ritz-Carlton told the Daily News the hotel only carries creams from the London-based Asprey brand at their locations.

The housekeeper said the hotel offers one generic Asprey cream and one nonscented, hypoallergenic version for sensitive skin. The generic cream retails at $37.50, according to the Ritz-Calrton website. The hypoallergenic lotion is not available on the website.

In addition to the Asprey creams, the Ritz-Carlton online shop has an “exclusive” in-house cream on sale that it brands as a “guest-favorite.” That one goes for $27.20, according to the website.

An EPA spokeswoman declined to comment on what type of lotion Pruitt prefers, only providing a generic statement saying he uses “the same security protocol whether he’s in his personal or official capacity.”

In addition to lotion, Pruitt reportedly had members of his security detail pick up his dry cleaning.

Pruitt is enmeshed in a dizzying number of ethical scandals involving his questionable management tactics and unprecedented spending on taxpayer-funded travel, accommodation and security.

News reports and congressional testimony has revealed the embattled EPA czar has habitually directed his aides to carry out nonofficial duties, prompting government misuse concerns from ethics watchdogs.

—New York Daily News

He was going to get a Happy Meal. Instead, S.C. toddler dies after being left in a car

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. — A 1-year-old boy died after being left in a car parked outside a South Carolina home, according to officials.

Joe Avery James Lockaby was visiting his grandmother’s home on Rogers Avenue in Greenville on May 31, Greenville County Coroner Kent Dill said, according to WSPA.

After bringing the baby home, the grandmother went inside the house, WYFF reported. She later called 911, saying the child was having difficulty breathing after being left in the car.

Joe was spending the night at his grandmother’s house, and she was taking him to McDonald’s to get a Happy Meal, the baby’s mother, Krista Nix, told FOX Carolina. After taking the baby out to the car, the grandmother realized she left her keys inside the house and went back in but suffered from a medical issue and collapsed.

When the grandmother came to, she found Joe breathing heavily inside the car and called 911, FOX Carolina reported.

Temperatures in the Greenville area that afternoon were in the 70s with thunderstorms entering the area, Dill said he was told by the U.S. Weather Bureau, according to The Greenville News.

No charges have been filed. The results of an autopsy performed last Friday are still pending.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover expenses for the baby’s funeral.

—The State (Columbia, S.C.)