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

February 22, 2019 - 8:04 PM

R. Kelly arrested, charged in Chicago with sexual abuse

CHICAGO (AP) — R. Kelly, the R&B star who has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves, was charged Friday with aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.

In a brief appearance before reporters, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced the 10 counts against the 52-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly. She said the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. She did not comment on the charges or take questions.

Kelly was driven to a Chicago police station in a dark colored van with heavily tinted rear windows around 8:15 p.m. Friday. He did not respond to questions from gathered reporters as he walked inside the building.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted a short time later that Kelly was under arrest. He was expected to be held overnight before an appearance Saturday in bond court.

Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, told reporters following the singer's arrest that one of the charges he faces appears to be tied to a decade-old child pornography case.

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Trump vows veto as Democrats try to block emergency order

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats controlling the House have teed up a vote next week to block President Donald Trump from using a national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, accelerating a showdown in Congress that could divide Republicans and lead to Trump's first veto.

The Democrats introduced a resolution Friday to block Trump's declaration, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would vote on the measure Tuesday. It is sure to pass, and the GOP-run Senate may adopt it as well. Trump quickly promised a veto.

"Will I veto it? 100 per cent," Trump told reporters at the White House.

Any Trump veto would likely be sustained, but the upcoming battle will test Republican support for the president's move, which even some of his allies view as a stretch — and a slap at lawmakers' control over the power of the federal purse.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said she'd honour her oath of office and uphold the Constitution, adding, "I wish he would have the same dedication to that oath of office himself." Speaking to reporters in Laredo, Texas, she said, "This is a path I would not recommend he go down. I don't expect him to sign it, but I do expect us to send it" to him.

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Patriots owner Kraft denies charges of soliciting prostitute

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, faces charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a shopping-centre massage parlour in Florida, police said Friday.

The 77-year-old Kraft denied any wrongdoing. The case comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlours.

Kraft was not immediately arrested. Jupiter police said a warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified. They said details about the misdemeanour charges against the owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week.

Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of the six-month investigation, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges.

Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn that Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was paying for sex inside a shopping-centre massage parlour, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. "We are as equally stunned as everyone else," Kerr said.

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Trump picks ambassador to Canada for UN post

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Friday that he has selected Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, as his nominee to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Trump said in a pair of tweets that Craft "has done an outstanding job representing our Nation" and he has "no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level."

Two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters had told The Associated Press that Trump had been advised that Craft's confirmation would be the smoothest of the three candidates he had been considering to fill the job last held by Nikki Haley.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had backed Craft for the post, and she also has the support of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, the people said. Trump's first pick to replace Haley, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew over the weekend.

McConnell praised Craft as "an exceptional choice for this critical post." He added, "She has a long record of service to her state and the nation and I'm confident she will continue to serve with distinction as America's voice to the world at the United Nations."

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Trump sets up abortion obstacles, barring clinic referrals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday set up new obstacles for women seeking abortions, barring taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from making abortion referrals. The new policy is certain to be challenged in court.

The final rule released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department also would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same locations as abortion providers, and require stricter financial separation.

Clinic staff would still be permitted to discuss abortion with clients, along with other options. However, that would no longer be required.

The move is the latest in a series of Trump administration efforts to remake government policy on reproductive health. The American Medical Association warned it could have an impact far beyond abortion, potentially affecting access to health care services now provided to low-income women by the clinics, including birth control, cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. By law, the family planning program does not pay for abortions.

"This is the wrong prescription and threatens to compound a health equity deficit in this nation," AMA president Barbara L. McAneny said in a statement. "Women should have access to these medical services regardless of where they live, how much money they make, their background, or whether they have health insurance."

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Venezuela opposition leader Guaido appears at aid concert

CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — Defying orders banning him from leaving Venezuela, opposition leader Juan Guaido made a surprise appearance at the end of star-studded aid concert in neighbouring Colombia, joining thousands of other Venezuelans in pressuring President Nicolas Maduro into allowing the delivery of emergency food and medicine.

In Venezuela, a much smaller crowd gathered for a rival, three-day "Hands Off Venezuela" festival being organized by Maduro. Even as several million Venezuelans flee the country and those who remain struggle to find basic goods like food and antibiotics, the embattled president claims the relief effort led by Guaido is a U.S. orchestrated ploy to oust him from power.

It's not clear how Guaido sneaked into Colombia — in one video circulating on social media he appears running across a bridge near the Colombian town of Puerto Santander, while in another he could be seen boarding a helicopter belonging to the Colombian air force.

But once he arrived at the giant stage located next to the Tienditas bridge connecting the two countries he was greeted like a rock star himself. Thousands of Venezuelans shouted "Juan arrived! Juan arrived!" when they spotted him donning a white shirt and accompanied by a large contingent of Colombian security as he made himself through the front of the crowd.

The presidents of Colombia, Chile and Paraguay were on hand to be the first foreign heads of state to embrace the 35-year-old lawmaker since he declared himself interim president a month ago at an outdoor rally.

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California parents of 13 plead guilty to torture, abuse

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A California couple pleaded guilty Friday to torture and years of abuse that included shackling some of their 13 children to beds and starving them to the point they stopped growing.

David and Louise Turpin will spend at least 25 years in prison after entering the pleas in Riverside County Superior Court to 14 counts that included cruelty toward all but their toddler daughter, and imprisoning the children in a house that appeared neatly kept outside, but festered with filth and reeked of human waste.

The couple was arrested in January 2018 after their 17-year-old daughter escaped from the home and called 911 in the city of Perris, about 60 miles (96 kilometres) southeast of Los Angeles.

The children, ages 2 to 29 at the time, were severely underweight and hadn't bathed for months. They described being beaten, starved and put in cages.

Louise Turpin's face turned red and she began crying and dabbed her eyes with a tissue during the hearing while her husband appeared stoic.

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Ground-breaking electric Chevrolet Volt runs out of juice

DETROIT (AP) — As their company was swirling around the financial drain in the early 2000s, General Motors executives came up with an idea to counter its gas-guzzling image and point the way to transportation of the future: an electric car with a gas-engine backup that could travel anywhere.

At Detroit's auto show in 2007, they unveiled the Chevrolet Volt concept car, not knowing yet whether they had the technology to pull off a major breakthrough in battery-powered vehicles.

It took nearly four more years, but the first Volt — a longer-range version of a plug-in hybrid — rolled off the assembly line late in 2010. GM had hopes that customers would be ready for a car that could go 38 miles on electricity before a small internal combustion generator kicked in.

They weren't. On Tuesday, the last Volt was built with little ceremony at a Detroit factory that's now slated to close. Sales averaged less than 20,000 per year, not enough to sustain the costly undertaking.

The Volt wasn't the first electric car, but it was the first to conquer anxiety over range at a reasonable cost. GM's limited-range EV1 came out in the 1990s, and Tesla put out its 200-plus-mile Roadster in 2008 for more than $100,000.

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Smile: Some airliners have cameras on seat-back screens

Now there is one more place where cameras could start watching you — from 30,000 feet.

Newer seat-back entertainment systems on some airplanes operated by American Airlines and Singapore Airlines have cameras, and it's likely they are also on planes used by other carriers.

American and Singapore both said Friday that they have never activated the cameras and have no plans to use them.

However, companies that make the entertainment systems are installing cameras to offer future options such as seat-to-seat video conferencing, according to an American Airlines spokesman.

A passenger on a Singapore flight posted a photo of the seat-back display last week, and the tweet was shared several hundred times and drew media notice. Buzzfeed first reported that the cameras are also on some American planes.

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Spring training games underway in Florida, Arizona

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — The sun came out in Arizona. Free agents played for their new teams. Ichiro Suzuki was back in uniform at age 45.

Baseball is back.

A day after the scheduled exhibition opener was rained out, baseball returned to the ballparks of Florida and Arizona on Friday with the first spring training games.

The World Series champion Boston Red Sox began their hoped-for journey to a second straight title with a 6-0 victory over Northeastern University. The Phillies — still without Bryce Harper, at least for now — beat Tampa Bay 3-2. The Tigers topped Southeastern University of Florida 12-2. Suzuki started what may be his final spring training with a two-run, two-out single in the third inning of the Seattle Mariners' 8-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.

"It's a good start to spring training," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after dispatching the Huskies in the regularly scheduled seven innings in a tight 1 hour, 45 minutes, a day before the Grapefruit League opener against the New York Yankees. "It will be good to start playing" against major league teams.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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