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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Last Updated Sep 25, 2018 at 11:20 pm EST

Trump hits ‘con job’ on Kavanaugh before showdown hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump denounced Democratic efforts to block Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation as a cynical “con job” on Tuesday and launched a dismissive attack on a second woman accusing the nominee of sexual misconduct in the 1980s, asserting she “has nothing.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted that Kavanaugh would win approval, despite the new allegations and uncertainty about how pivotal Republicans would vote in a roll call now expected early next week. Like much of America, lawmakers awaited a momentous Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which Kavanaugh and chief accuser Christine Blasey Ford are to testify Thursday, though not together.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell will be brought in to handle questioning of Kavanaugh and Ford. Mitchell comes from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, where she is the chief of the Special Victims Division, which covers sex crimes and family violence.

Hanging in the balance is Trump’s chance to swing the high court more firmly to the right for a generation. Despite McConnell’s forecast that Republicans will “win,” Kavanaugh’s fate remains uncertain in a chamber where Republicans have a scant 51-49 majority.

“I will be glued to the television,” said Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, who has yet to declare her position on confirmation.

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Cosby in cuffs: TV star gets 3 to 10 years for sex assault

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — At an age when other Hollywood stars are settling into retirement and collecting lifetime-achievement awards, an 81-year-old Bill Cosby was led away to prison in handcuffs Tuesday, sentenced to three to 10 years behind bars in what was seen by many of his accusers as a reckoning richly deserved and long overdue.

The comedian, TV star and breaker of racial barriers became the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison. He was found guilty in April of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his gated estate in 2004 after being barraged with similar accusations from more than 60 women over the past five decades.

“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said. He quoted from victim Andrea Constand’s statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”

Cosby declined the opportunity to speak before the sentence came down, and afterward sat laughing and chatting with his defence team. His wife of 54 years, Camille, was not in court. Constand smiled broadly on hearing the punishment and was hugged by others in the courtroom.

In a blistering statement, Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said the comic was subjected to the “most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States.” Wyatt said all three of the psychologists who testified against Cosby were “white women who make money off of accusing black men of being sexual predators.”

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Trump challenges UN, boasting of America’s go-it-alone might

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Donald Trump poured scorn on the “ideology of globalism” and heaped praise on his own administration’s achievements Tuesday in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly that drew headshakes and even mocking laughter from his audience of fellow world leaders.

“The U.S. will not tell you how to live and work or worship,” Trump said as he unapologetically promoted his “America First” agenda. “We only ask that you honour our sovereignty in return.”

Speaking in triumphal terms, Trump approached his address to the world body as something of an annual report to the world on his country’s progress since his inauguration. He showcased strong economic numbers, declared that the U.S. military is “more powerful than it has ever been before” and crowed that in “less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

Just sentences into the president’s remarks, the audience began to chuckle and some leaders broke into outright laughter, suggesting the one-time reality television star’s puffery is as familiar abroad as it is at home. Trump appeared briefly flustered, then smiled and said it was not the reaction he expected “but that’s all right.”

Later he brushed off the episode, telling reporters, “Oh it was great. Well, that was meant to get some laughter so it was great.”

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Laughter at Trump among a long line of shocking UN moments

The laughter was sudden, loud and unexpected.

It came at the expense of the U.S. president as he addressed global leaders at the United Nations, and it was witnessed by an audience of tens of millions viewing immediate clips online of an awkward moment for Donald Trump.

The laughter followed Trump’s boasts that “in less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

Clearly startled by the laughter, he joked that it wasn’t the reaction he expected.

Later, as he left the U.N. grounds, he told reporters that he had meant to be funny.

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Into the fold? What’s next for Instagram as founders leave

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger sold Instagram to Facebook in 2012, the photo-sharing startup’s fiercely loyal fans worried about what would happen to their beloved app under the social media giant’s wings.

None of their worst fears materialized. But now that its founders have announced they are leaving in a swirl of well wishes and vague explanations, some of the same worries are bubbling up again — and then some. Will Instagram disappear? Get cluttered with ads and status updates? Suck up personal data for advertising the way its parent does? Lose its cool?

Worst of all: Will it just become another Facebook?

“It’s probably a bigger challenge (for Facebook) than most people realize,” said Omar Akhtar, an analyst at the technology research firm Altimeter. “Instagram is the only platform that is growing. And a lot of people didn’t necessarily make the connection between Instagram and Facebook.”

Instagram had just 31 million users when Facebook snapped it up for $1 billion; now it has a billion. It had no ads back then; it now features both display and video ads, although they’re still restrained compared to Facebook. But that could quickly change. Facebook’s growth has started to slow, and Wall Street has been pushing the company to find new ways to increase revenue.

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What happens to Mueller probe if Rosenstein loses his job?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The investigation into Russian election interference is often called the Mueller probe, but it’s Rod Rosenstein who oversees it.

Rosenstein’s fate as deputy attorney general remains in the air after a revelation surfaced last week that he floated the idea of recording President Donald Trump. Rosenstein went to the White House on Monday expecting to be fired, but the president gave him a three-day reprieve, and the two are set to have a face-to-face showdown on Thursday.

So what happens to the Russia investigation if Rosenstein loses his job after Thursday’s meeting?

Some questions and answers:

WHAT IS ROSENSTEIN’S ROLE IN THE MUELLER PROBE?

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CBS taps media industry veteran Parsons as interim chairman

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS says it has named media industry veteran Richard Parsons as interim chairman of the board as the company moves to reshape itself following the ouster of longtime chief Les Moonves.

Parsons is the former chairman of Time Warner and Citicorp. He was added to the board of CBS earlier this month along with five others as the company pursues an independent investigation into Moonves.

Moonves resigned just after six women joined others who had previously accused the long-time television executive with sexual misconduct.

CBS also said Tuesday that two other board members were stepping down. Bruce Gordon and William Cohen had been on the company’s board since it became a standalone public company in 2006.

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Trump at UN Security Council: ‘Most watched meeting ever’?

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council tends to proceed in a scripted, measured way. U.S. President Donald Trump does not.

But Trump is set to preside Wednesday over the U.N.’s most powerful body, one that incarnates the very concept of global governing that he swatted aside in a speech Tuesday.

The meeting in the sanctum of shared decision-making will put the “America First” president around a table with representatives from countries with fraught relationships with the United States, including Russia and China. The topic alone has been a matter of dispute.

In the words of Washington’s U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley: “That is going to be the most watched Security Council meeting ever.”

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, chaired Security Council meetings in 2009 and 2014. But Wednesday will be Trump’s first time in the Security Council, where the U.S. holds the rotating presidency this month.

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Woman says ex pressed for baby, didn’t know her plan to kill

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota woman convicted of killing her pregnant neighbour by cutting the baby from her womb testified Tuesday that her boyfriend had pressured her to “produce a baby” after figuring out she had lied about being pregnant.

Brooke Crews told the court that she had concocted a phoney pregnancy to keep from losing William Hoehn, who is on trial for conspiracy in the August 2017 death of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind. Hoehn has admitted helping to cover up the crime but says he didn’t know that Crews had planned to kill Greywind and take her baby. Crews testified that she never “explicitly” told Hoehn that was her plan.

Crews said Hoehn appeared surprised when he entered the bathroom in their apartment and discovered she had cut Greywind’s baby from her body. Crews said Hoehn then retrieved a rope and tightened it around Greywind’s neck, saying: “If she wasn’t dead before, she is now.”

Greywind’s daughter survived and is being raised by family.

Hoehn spoke regularly with his attorney, Daniel Borgen, during Crews’ testimony but showed little emotion. Crews was crying and sniffling throughout.

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Antibiotics for appendicitis? Surgery often not needed

CHICAGO (AP) — When emergency tests showed the telltale right-sided pain in Heather VanDusen’s abdomen was appendicitis, she figured she’d be quickly wheeled into surgery. But doctors offered her the option of antibiotics instead.

A new study from Finland shows her choice is a reasonable alternative for most patients with appendicitis. Five years after treatment with antibiotics, almost two-thirds of patients hadn’t had another attack.

It’s a substantial change in thinking about how to treat an inflamed appendix. For decades, appendicitis has been considered a medical emergency requiring immediate surgery to remove the appendix because of fears it could burst, which can be life-threatening.

But advances in imaging tests, mainly CT scans, have made it easier to determine if an appendix might burst, or if patients could be safely treated without surgery.

The results suggest that nearly two-thirds of appendicitis patients don’t face that risk and may be good candidates for antibiotics instead.