News of the day from across the nation, Aug. 12

1 Tillerson’s role: A deputy assistant to President Trump dismissed statements by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regarding a military response to North Korea as “simply nonsensical.” He says Tillerson was stepping beyond his administration role as the nation’s top diplomat. The remarks by Trump aide Sebastian Gorka to the BBC came after media criticism that the Trump administration — the president as well as Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — had offered mixed messages as tension rose over North Korea’s nuclear program. While Trump warned North Korea on Tuesday not to threaten the U.S. and spoke of meeting the North with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Tillerson played down those comments Wednesday.

2 X designation: An Oregon rule change allowing people who don’t identify with their gender to instead mark “X’’ on their driver’s licenses or state ID cards has been used by more than 250 people since the change enacted on July 3. Eugene’s Register-Guard reported Friday that the Oregon Transportation Commission approved the rule change. It simplifies the process for people who in the past have had to go through tedious court procedures to change their gender on their licenses. The District of Columbia implemented the same option on June 26 and is the only other place in the U.S. where the designation is available.

3 Murder conviction: A reputed gang member who beat a murder charge decades ago and went on to land a job as a police officer was convicted Thursday of the 30-year-old killing after DNA evidence put him at the crime scene. Pierre Romain, 53, was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court of first-degree murder for a botched carjacking outside a Hollywood nightclub in June 1987. Romain was trying to steal a customized 1984 Nissan 300 ZX that was identical to a friend’s car he had recently crashed, police said. He fatally shot Jade Clark behind the wheel of the car and was struck in the arm by a shot returned by the driver. Romain was arrested shortly after the killing, but charges were dismissed because of lack of evidence. At the time, investigators didn’t have DNA science to connect him to the bloody bullet fired by Clark that struck the killer.

4 CNN commentator fired: CNN fired conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord on Thursday after he tweeted a Nazi salute at a critic. A network representative in New York said, “Nazi salutes are indefensible.” The statement came hours after Lord tweeted the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil!” at the head of a liberal advocacy group, Media Matters for America. Lord said he respected CNN and its journalists, but fundamentally disagreed with the network’s decision to fire him. He said his “Sieg Heil!” tweet was not an endorsement of Nazism or fascist tactics, but was meant to mock Media Matters and its use of boycotts of advertisers of conservative voices such as Sean Hannity, which Lord equated with fascism.

Chronicle News Services