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

May 14, 2018 - 8:04 PM

55 dead in Gaza protests as Israel fetes US Embassy move

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — In a jarring contrast, Israeli forces shot and killed at least 55 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,200 during mass protests Monday along the Gaza border, while just a few miles away Israel and the U.S. held a festive inauguration ceremony for the new American Embassy in contested Jerusalem.

It was by far the deadliest day of cross-border violence since a devastating 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, and further dimmed the already bleak prospects for President Donald Trump's hoped-for peace plan.

Throughout the day, Gaza protesters set tires ablaze, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air, and hurled firebombs and stones toward Israeli troops across the border. The Israeli military, which has come under international criticism for using excessive force against unarmed protesters, said Hamas tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the protests and released video of protesters ripping away parts of the barbed-wire border fence.

Monday's protests culminated more than a month of weekly demonstrations aimed at breaking a crippling Israeli-Egyptian border blockade. But the U.S. Embassy move, bitterly opposed by the Palestinians, added further fuel.

There was barely any mention of the Gaza violence at Monday's lavish inauguration ceremony for the new embassy, an upgraded consular building located just 50 miles (80 kilometres) away. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials joined an American delegation of Trump administration officials and Republican and evangelical Christian supporters.

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Long odds for peace as Trump roils Mideast with embassy move

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's prospects for brokering the Mideast peace "deal of the century" plunged ever deeper Monday as the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem opened amid bloodshed in Gaza. The day fueled global concern that U.S. policies are tipping the broader Middle East into deeper, intractable conflict.

At the same time, Trump is winning international support for his efforts to strike a deal with nuclear-armed North Korea. But his contentious decisions in the Middle East are roiling a region where U.S. administrations have traditionally sought perhaps their biggest diplomatic prize: an elusive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The embassy move, which Trump hailed a "great day" for Israel even as dozens of Palestinians were killed in Gaza, damaged Washington's stature as a mediator between those parties. And it's but the latest in a series of U.S. decisions that may have set off a domino effect of unpredictable consequences.

"Traditionally we've tried to play a role of fireman in the Middle East. Now we're playing the role of arsonist," said Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department and Pentagon official who runs the Mideast program at the Center for a New American Security.

Trump's withdrawal last week from the Iran nuclear deal, against the protestations of European allies, appears to have emboldened both Israel and Iran to move more forcefully toward full-on confrontation. In Syria, Trump's eagerness to pull out U.S. troops as soon as the Islamic State group is defeated has forced a reckoning by Iran's enemies about the possibility that Tehran will fill the void.

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10 Things to Know for Tuesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:

1. ISRAELI FORCES KILL 55 PROTESTERS AS US OPENS EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM

With 1,200 Palestinian demonstrators also wounded, it was the deadliest day of cross-border violence since 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.

2. WHY FIRST LADY IS IN HOSPITAL

Melania Trump recovers from a procedure to treat a benign kidney condition and will likely be hospitalized for the rest of week, the White House says.

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Lay your money down: Court says states can OK sports betting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for states coast to coast to legalize betting on sports, breaking a longtime ban and creating a potential financial boon for states and the gambling industry. The first bets could be placed within weeks.

Despite opposition from the major sports leagues and the Trump administration, the high court struck down a federal law that had barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. States that want to take advantage of the ruling now will generally have to pass legislation to allow sports books to open. Some, including New Jersey, which brought the case to the Supreme Court, have a head start.

Sports leagues had expressed concerns about any expansion of sports gambling. Their huge businesses could be badly harmed if people thought the outcome of games could be altered by someone who had wagered money on a certain result.

However, the ruling also could be seen as merely bringing an activity out of the shadows that many people already see as a mainstream hobby. Americans wager about $150 billion on sports each year illegally, according to the American Gaming Association. The law the justices struck down forbade state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions and made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.

Stock prices for casino operators and equipment makers surged after the ruling was announced.

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Margot Kidder, Lois Lane in the 'Superman' franchise, dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Margot Kidder, the Canadian actress who starred as a salty and cynical Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in the "Superman" film franchise of the 1970s and 1980s, has died. She was 69.

Kidder's manager Camilla Fluxman Pines said she died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday. Police in Livingston, Montana, said in a statement that officers were called to Kidder's home, where they found her dead. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause, but no foul play is suspected.

"Superman," directed by Richard Donner and released in 1978, was a superhero blockbuster two decades before comic book movies became the norm at the top of the box office. Makers of today's Marvel and D.C. films cite "Superman" as an essential inspiration.

Kidder, as ace reporter Lane, was a salty, sexually savvy adult who played off of the boyish, farm-raised charm of Reeve's Clark Kent, though her dogged journalism constantly got her into dangerous scrapes that required old-fashioned rescues.

Kidder had many of the movies' most memorable lines, including "You've got me?! Who's got you?!" when she first encountered the costumed hero as she and a helicopter plunged from the top of a Metropolis building.

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Hawaii volcano eruption costs tourism industry millions

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — People nixing vacations to Hawaii's Big island has cost the tourism industry millions of dollars as the top attraction, Kilauea volcano, keeps spewing lava.

Cancellations from May through July have hit at least $5 million, said Ross Birch, executive director of the island's tourism board.

The booking pace for hotels and other activities, such as tours for lava viewing, zip lines and glass bottom boats have fallen 50 per cent. A handful of cruise ships have also decided not to come into port even in Kona on the west side of the island, about 80 miles (129 kilometres) away from the volcano.

This is the "first leak we're seeing out of the bucket," Birch said.

Tourism is one of Hawaii's biggest industries and a big part of the local economy. The industry grew the fastest on the Big Island last year compared to other islands in the archipelago, pulling in about $2.5 billion in visitor spending.

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Prosecutor: Children tortured "for sadistic purposes"

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Children removed from a squalid California home described acts of intentional abuse that resulted in puncture wounds, burns, bruising and injuries consistent with being shot with a pellet gun, authorities said Monday.

Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, said she was "horrified" by the statements from the children and that torture was carried out in the house "for sadistic purposes." She declined to elaborate.

"It literally breaks your heart, and you're outraged by how a parent or anyone could commit those acts," Henry said afterward.

Jonathan Allen, 29, the father of the children, has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of torture and nine counts of felony child abuse. He is being held on $5.2 million bail.

Police in Fairfield said earlier Monday that the 10 children, ages 4 months to 12 years, had been removed from their home March 31 after their mother, Ina Rogers, 30, reported her oldest child was missing.

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Melania Trump has 'successful' procedure on kidney condition

WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Melania Trump underwent a "successful" procedure Monday to treat a benign kidney condition and was expected to remain hospitalized for the rest of the week, her staff said. President Donald Trump took a helicopter to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit her and tweeted that his wife was in "good spirits."

Mrs. Trump, 48, had the embolization procedure Monday morning. The president spoke with Mrs. Trump before the procedure and with her doctor afterward, the first lady's office said.

The president tweeted shortly before arriving at Walter Reed outside Washington, saying it was a "successful procedure," describing his wife as being "in good spirits" and offering his thanks "to all of the well-wishers!" He spent over an hour at the hospital before departing, without addressing waiting reporters, via motorcade under stormy skies.

The White House did not offer any additional details on Mrs. Trump's condition, though Vice-President Mike Pence described the procedure as "long planned" as he opened a speech at an evening event celebrating Israel's independence. "Melania is already on the mend," Pence said.

In the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent well wishes for "a speedy recovery to the first lady."

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Markle seeks respect for dad after report he'll skip wedding

LONDON (AP) — Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are requesting "understanding and respect" for Markle's father after a celebrity news site reported he would not attend the royal wedding to walk his daughter down the aisle, Kensington Palace said Monday night.

A palace statement on "this difficult situation" did not confirm the TMZ report that Thomas Markle had decided not to attend Saturday's wedding at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The palace said earlier it would not comment on the report, and its statement did not clarify if the bride's father would or would not be at the wedding.

"This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding," the palace statement said. "She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation."

TMZ said Thomas Markle was upset over the way his decision to have staged paparazzi photos taken of him preparing for the wedding has been received and decided to miss the wedding to avoid embarrassing his daughter and the royal family.

The site also said he suffered a heart attack less than a week ago, and was returning to the hospital Monday with more chest pains.

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Marijuana growers turning to hemp as CBD extract explodes

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) — A glut of legal marijuana is driving Oregon pot prices to rock-bottom levels, prompting some nervous growers to start pivoting to another type of cannabis to make ends meet — one that doesn't come with a high.

Applications for state licenses to grow hemp — marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin — have increased more than twentyfold since 2015, making Oregon No. 2 behind Colorado among the 19 states with active hemp cultivation. The rapidly evolving market comes amid skyrocketing demand for a hemp-derived extract called cannabidiol, or CBD, seen by many as a health aid.

In its purified distilled form, CBD oil commands thousands of dollars per kilogram, and farmers can make more than $100,000 an acre growing hemp plants to produce it. That distillate can also be converted into a crystallized form or powder.

"Word on the street is everybody thinks hemp's the new gold rush," Jerrad McCord said, who grows marijuana in southern Oregon and just added 12 acres (5 hectares) of hemp. "This is a business. You've got to adapt, and you've got to be a problem-solver."

It's a problem few predicted when Oregon voters opened the door to legal marijuana four years ago.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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