Trump dishes up fresh dose of chaos aimed at May, Londoners
BLENHEIM PALACE, England (AP) — Dishing up a fresh dose of chaos on his European tour, President Donald Trump left behind a contentious NATO gathering in Brussels and moved on to Britain, where a pomp-filled welcome ceremony was soon overshadowed by an interview in which Trump blasted Prime Minister Theresa May, blamed London’s mayor for terror attacks against the city and argued that Europe was “losing its culture” because of immigration.
Trump, in an interview with The Sun newspaper, said he felt unwelcome in London because of protests, including plans to fly a giant balloon over Parliament on Friday that depicts him as an angry baby in a diaper.
“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London,” he said.
Trump, in the interview given before he left Brussels for the U.K., accused May of ruining what her country stands to gain from the Brexit vote to leave the European Union. He said her former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, would make an “excellent” prime minister, speaking just days after Johnson resigned his position in protest over May’s Brexit plans.
Trump added that May’s “soft” blueprint for the U.K.’s future dealings with the EU would probably “kill” any future trade deals with the United States.
FBI agent clashes with GOP at hearing on Russia probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — An embattled FBI agent whose anti-Trump text messages exposed the Justice Department to claims of institutional bias vigorously defended himself Thursday at an extraordinary congressional hearing that devolved into shouting matches, finger-pointing and veiled references to personal transgressions.
Peter Strzok spoke publicly for the first time since being removed last year from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team because of texts he traded with an FBI lawyer in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. He insisted that he never allowed personal opinions to influence his work, though he did acknowledge being dismayed by Donald Trump’s behaviour during the campaign.
“At no time, in any of those texts, did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took,” Strzok told lawmakers.
In a chaotic hearing that spanned 10 hours, he also said the FBI had solid basis to open an investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. He told lawmakers that he knew information during the campaign that could have damaged Trump but never contemplated leaking it. And he lamented that the continued scrutiny of him was “just another victory notch in Putin’s belt.”
In breaking his silence, Strzok came face-to-face with Republicans who argued that the texts tainted two hugely consequential FBI probes he had helped steer: inquiries into Hillary Clinton’s email use and possible co-ordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the U.S. that now reaps $1 billion annually — a tenfold increase over the past decade, an Associated Press analysis finds.
Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million dollars in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody.
Currently, more than 11,800 children, from a few months old to 17, are housed in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states — Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
They are being held while their parents await immigration proceedings or, if the children arrived unaccompanied, are reviewed for possible asylum themselves.
In May, the agency issued requests for bids for five projects that could total more than $500 million for beds, foster and therapeutic care, and “secure care,” which means employing guards. More contracts are expected to come up for bids in October.
US: Nearly half of youngest children not rejoining families
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration said Thursday all eligible small children who were separated from their families as a result of its zero-tolerance immigration policy have been reunited with their parents.
But nearly half of the children under 5 remain apart from their families because of safety concerns, the deportation of their parents and other issues, the administration said.
The administration was under a court mandate to reunite families separated between early May and June 20, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order that stopped separations. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who had been separated from her child, and U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ordered all children reunited with their parents.
Fifty-seven children were reunited with their parents as of Thursday morning, administration officials said.
“Throughout the reunification process, our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment,” according to a statement from the heads of the three agencies responsible for the process. “Of course, there remains a tremendous amount of hard work and similar obstacles facing our teams in reuniting the remaining families. The Trump administration does not approach this mission lightly.”
Police say they made an ‘error’ in arresting Stormy Daniels
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Prosecutors on Thursday dropped charges against porn star Stormy Daniels just hours after she was arrested and accused of illegally rubbing undercover police officers’ faces against her bare breasts during a performance at a strip club.
Her attorney said she was “set up” in a Columbus police sting operation, calling it an “absurd use of law enforcement resources.” Police said they routinely conduct such undercover operations.
The 39-year-old adult film star, who claims to have had sex with Donald Trump before he became president, was charged with three misdemeanours, each punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine upon conviction. She was released on $6,000 bail around daybreak Thursday.
By early afternoon, prosecutors said they were dropping the case because Ohio’s law against physical contact between strippers and customers applies only to someone who “regularly” performs at a club. In Daniels’ case, it was her first appearance at Sirens in Columbus.
A person who answered the phone at Sirens declined to comment.
Trump DOJ appealing judge’s OK of AT&T-Time Warner merger
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stung by a federal judge’s dismissal of its objections to AT&T’s megamerger with Time Warner, the Trump Justice Department is challenging the decision with a legal appeal.
The Justice Department said in a one-sentence document Thursday it is appealing the ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, which blessed one of the biggest media deals ever following a landmark antitrust trial.
Leon rejected the government’s argument that the phone and pay-TV giant’s $81 billion takeover of the entertainment conglomerate would hurt competition, limit choices and jack up prices for consumers to stream TV and movies.
Leon’s ruling allowed Dallas-based AT&T Inc. to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, “Game of Thrones,” coveted sports programming and other “must-see” shows.
The Justice Department’s appeal is lodged with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a step up from the federal district court where the six-week trial unfolded in the spring.
Author of Emmett Till book gave FBI interview recordings
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Weeks after he published a book about the brutal slaying of Emmett Till, a North Carolina author received a call from FBI agents asking about his interview with a key witness who acknowledged lying about her interactions with the black teen.
Not long after that, Duke University scholar Timothy Tyson said, he turned over interview recordings and other research materials for his 2017 book on the 1955 case that shocked the nation and helped build momentum for the civil rights movement.
Hours after news broke Thursday about a renewed investigation prompted by the book, Tyson told reporters that he supports a fresh look at “one of the most notorious racial incidents of racial violence in the history of the world,” but doesn’t think his research alone will provide enough evidence for new charges.
“It’s possible that the investigation will turn up something. But there’s nothing that I know of, and nothing in my research, that is actionable, I don’t think,” he said. Still, he said investigators may be able to link it to other material in their possession.
Tyson’s 2017 book “The Blood of Emmett Till” quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as saying during a 2008 interview that she wasn’t truthful when she testified that the black teen grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a Mississippi store six decades ago.
Player-coach bond may have saved lives in Thai cave ordeal
The day-to-day pearls of wisdom imparted by coaches to players — from youth sports, to high school, to college and even the pros — are well-known: Try your hardest, don’t lose focus, support your teammates, keep your chin up.
Sometimes, heeding that advice can lead to winning a game or a championship.
In the case of the 12 youth soccer players trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand, it may have helped save their lives.
Unsure of their prospects for more than two weeks while they awaited rescue , the kids and their coach found themselves in a life-and-death struggle that placed an acute focus on the value of teamwork, positive attitude and strong leadership.
Everyone made it out alive, in no small part, according to rescuers and sports experts, because they listened to their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, or “Coach Ake,” and remembered the lessons athletes have been absorbing on soccer pitches, basketball courts and baseball diamonds for decades.
New ways to conquer sleep apnea compete for place in bedroom
Every night without fail, Paul Blumstein straps on a mask that prevents him from repeatedly waking up, gasping for air.
It’s been his routine since he was diagnosed with a condition called sleep apnea. While it helps, he doesn’t like wearing the mask.
“It’s like an octopus has clung to my face,” said Blumstein, 70, of Annandale, Virginia. “I just want to sleep once in a while without that feeling.”
It’s been two decades since doctors fully recognized that breathing that stops and starts during sleep is tied to a host of health issues, even early death, but there still isn’t a treatment that most people find easy to use.
Airway pressure masks, the most common remedy, have improved in design, getting smaller and quieter, but patients still complain about sore nostrils, dry mouths and claustrophobia.
Flash flood sends tourists to high ground near Grand Canyon
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Torrents of water rushed Thursday through an Arizona canyon famous for its towering blue-green waterfalls, sending tourists scrambling to benches, trees and caves as they sought higher ground.
Rescue workers evacuated most of the 200 tourists after two rounds of flooding hit the Havasupai reservation, deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon.
All the tourists were accounted for and no one was seriously injured when heavy rain began falling Wednesday evening and before dawn Thursday, swelling a shallow creek that runs through a reservation campground, said tribal spokeswoman Abbie Fink.
Tourist Benji Xie said people were swimming at the base of waterfalls when the flash flooding struck. He and his friends ran up to a bathroom with other campers to wait out the rain.
“The sky opened up. Winds started blowing, sand was blowing everywhere and rain was coming down in sheets,” he told The Associated Press on Thursday.