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

January 27, 2019 - 8:04 PM

Trump sets odds of reaching deal on wall at less than 50-50

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Sunday that the odds congressional negotiators will craft a deal to end his border wall standoff with Congress are "less than 50-50."

As hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers prepared to return to work, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he doesn't think the negotiators will strike a deal that he'd accept. He pledged to build a wall anyway using his executive powers to declare a national emergency if necessary.

"I personally think it's less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board," Trump said in an interview with the newspaper.

The president was referring to a bipartisan committee of House and Senate lawmakers that will consider border spending as part of the legislative process.

The president's standoff with Democrats on Capitol Hill is far from over and the clock is ticking. The spending bill Trump signed on Friday to temporarily end the partial government shutdown funds the shuttered agencies only until Feb. 15.

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Search for Brazil dam survivors renews as death toll hits 58

BRUMADINHO, Brazil (AP) — Brazilian rescue crews returned to mud-covered flats Sunday to resume the search for hundreds of people missing in the wake of a dam collapse after the operation was suspended for several hours over fears that a second dam was at risk of breach.

The Civil Defence office in Minais Gerais state raised the confirmed death toll to 58, with up to 300 people still missing following the avalanche of iron ore waste from a mine Friday.

Earlier Sunday, authorities stopped the search and evacuated several neighbourhoods in the southeastern city of Brumadinho that were within range of the second B6 dam owned by the Brazilian mining company Vale. An estimated 24,000 people were told to get to higher ground, but by the afternoon civil engineers said the second dam was no longer at risk.

"Get out searching!" a woman yelled at firefighters near a refugee set up in the centre of Brumadinho. "They could be out there in the bush."

Areas of water-soaked mud appeared to be drying out, which could help firefighters get to areas previously unreachable. Late Sunday, more than 100 Israeli soldiers and other personnel arrived with plans to join rescue and recovery efforts Monday.

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Trump rollbacks for fossil fuel industries carry steep cost

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — As the Trump administration rolls back environmental and safety rules for the energy sector, government projections show billions of dollars in savings reaped by companies will come at a steep cost: more premature deaths and illnesses from air pollution, a jump in climate-warming emissions and more severe derailments of trains carrying explosive fuels.

The Associated Press analyzed 11 major rules targeted for repeal or relaxation under Trump, using the administration's own estimates to tally how its actions would boost businesses and harm society.

The AP identified up to $11.6 billion in potential future savings for companies that extract, burn and transport fossil fuels. Industry windfalls of billions of dollars more could come from a freeze in vehicle efficiency standards that will yield an estimated 79 billion-gallon (300 million-litre) increase in fuel consumption.

On the opposite side of the government's ledger, buried in thousands of pages of analyses, are the "social costs" of rolling back the regulations. Among them:

— Up to 1,400 additional premature deaths annually due to the pending repeal of a rule to cut coal plant pollution.

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Duterte to visit site of bombings that killed at least 20

JOLO, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his top security officials are scheduled to visit the southern Philippines where suspected Islamic militants bombed a Catholic cathedral during Sunday Mass, killing at least 20 people.

Duterte's office vowed earlier to "pursue to the ends of the earth" the perpetrators of the attack. The president and defence, military and police officials were to visit the scene and meet survivors Monday.

The attack occurred in the provincial capital of Jolo island, which has long been troubled by Abu Sayyaf militants, who have carried out years of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings and have aligned themselves with the Islamic State group.

The SITE Intelligence monitoring group said an IS communique claimed two of its suicide bombers carried out the attack. The claim could not be independently verified.

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Louisiana murder suspect caught at grandma's Virginia home

GONZALES, La. (AP) — A 21-year-old man suspected of killing his parents and three other people — including a girl he was dating — was arrested Sunday when he drove up with a gun to his grandmother's house in Virginia, a sheriff said.

On Saturday, Dakota Theriot shot and killed three people — the woman believed to be his girlfriend, her brother and father — in Louisiana's Livingston Parish before taking her father's pickup truck, driving to neighbouring Ascension Parish, and shooting his parents, according to authorities.

Theriot's grandmother in Warsaw, Virginia, had checked into a hotel Saturday night, fearing he might show up there, Richmond County Sheriff Stephan B. Smith said in a phone interview. The woman asked authorities to check her house Sunday morning to ensure it was safe before she returned.

While deputies were there, Smith said, Theriot drove up with a firearm pointed out the window of a pickup. A sheriff's statement said deputies sought cover and challenged Theriot, who then dropped the gun and was arrested without incident. Smith said the pickup Theriot drove apparently was the one taken in Louisiana.

In Louisiana, at a trailer where the suspect's parents lived, drops of blood trailed out to the front steps from the bedroom where Keith and Elizabeth Theriot were shot. In the bedroom, blood-soaked pillows were strewn on a bed, and patches of what appeared to be dried blood were on the floor. Dozens of stuffed animals decorated the room.

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'Black Panther' wins top honour at SAG Awards, 'Maisel' soars

NEW YORK (AP) — "Black Panther" took the top award at Sunday's 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards, giving Ryan Coogler's superhero sensation its most significant awards-season honour yet and potentially setting up Wakanda for a major role at next month's Academy Awards.

The two leading Oscar nominees — "Roma" and "The Favourite" — were bypassed by the actors guild for a best ensemble field that also included "BlacKkKlansman," ''Crazy Rich Asians," ''Bohemian Rhapsody" and "A Star Is Born." Although "Black Panther" wasn't nominated for any individual SAG Awards, it took home the final award at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Before a stage full of actors, Chadwick Boseman tried to put into context the moment for the trailblazing "Black Panther," which also won for its stunt performer ensemble. "To be young, gifted and black," he said, quoting the Nina Simone song.

"We know what it's like to be told there isn't a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. ... We know what's like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day," said Boseman. "We knew that we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see. We knew that we had something to give."

The win puts "Black Panther" squarely in contention for best picture at the Academy Awards where it's nominated for seven honours including best picture. Actors make up the largest percentage of the academy, so their preferences can have an especially large impact on the Oscar race. In the last decade the SAG ensemble winner has gone on to win best picture at the Academy Awards half of the time.

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Another week, more UK jockeying over who controls Brexit

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May faces another bruising week in Parliament as lawmakers plan to challenge her minority Conservative government for control of Brexit policy.

Amendments designed to change the course of Britain's planned March 29 departure from the European Union escalated the political jockeying. Several would delay the exit or make a Brexit without a divorce deal with the EU impossible.

The final lineup to be considered in the House of Commons is not expected to be announced until Tuesday, hours before the next Brexit debate and voting begins.

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said her party would support postponing Brexit day.

Sturgeon said the possibility of a second U.K. referendum on leaving the EU was not gaining traction in Parliament because of opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's ambiguous position.

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Democrats uneasy about potential Howard Schultz bid

SEATTLE (AP) — For a businessman who grew a small coffee roaster into an inescapable global chain, who ensured that even his part-time workers had benefits and who has given about $150,000 to Democratic campaigns, former Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz is generating tepid — or even hostile — responses within the party as he weighs a presidential bid in 2020.

That's partly because — as Schultz told "60 Minutes" on Sunday — he's considering running as an independent, a prospect many worry could draw support from the eventual Democratic nominee and hand President Donald Trump another four years in office. Among those urging him not to run as an independent are David Axelrod, the former adviser to President Barack Obama, and Tina Podlodowski, the Democratic Party chairwoman in Washington state, where Schultz has lived for decades.

"For somebody who is professing to be a lifelong Democrat, I think to be running as in independent in this particular cycle is not a wise thing to do," Podlodowski said.

Julian Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development who announced a bid for the Democratic nomination this month, said Sunday on CNN he is concerned that if Schultz did run an independent campaign "it would provide Donald Trump with his best hope of getting re-elected."

The 65-year-old Seattle billionaire launches a tour Monday to promote his latest book, "From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America." He has stops this week in New York; Tempe, Arizona; Seattle; and San Francisco — but no dates listed for the early voting states of Iowa or New Hampshire.

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Brokaw says he feels terrible commentary offended Hispanics

NEW YORK (AP) — NBC's Tom Brokaw says he feels terrible that his comments on "Meet the Press" Sunday that Hispanics should work harder at assimilation "offended some members of that proud culture."

The former "NBC Nightly News" anchor tweeted in response to a social media backlash to what he had said earlier in the day during a discussion of the proposed border wall.

On the show, Brokaw said that many Republicans fear the rise of a new constituency in American politics "who will come here and all be Democrats.

"Also, I hear, when I push people a little harder, (people who say) 'well, I don't know whether I want brown grandbabies,'" he said. "I mean, that's also a part of it. It's the intermarriage that is going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other."

The 78-year-old journalist said he's been saying for a long time that Hispanics need to work harder at assimilation.

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Rivals Maduro and Guaido vie for Venezuelan military backing

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The struggle for control of Venezuela turned to the military Sunday, with supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido handing leaflets to soldiers detailing a proposed amnesty law that would protect them for helping overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

At the same time, Maduro demonstrated his might, wearing tan fatigues at military exercises. Flanked by his top brass, Maduro watched heavy artillery fired into a hillside and boarded an amphibious tank.

Addressing soldiers in an appearance on state TV, Maduro asked whether they were plotting with the "imperialist" United States, which he accused of openly leading a coup against him.

"No, my commander-in-chief," they shouted in unison, and Maduro responded: "We're ready to defend our homeland — under any circumstance."

The dueling appeals from the two rivals again put the military centre stage in the global debate over who holds a legitimate claim to power in the South American nation.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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