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

April 04, 2018 - 8:04 PM

Trump signs proclamation directing troops to secure border

WASHINGTON (AP) — Asserting the situation had reached "a point of crisis," President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a proclamation directing the deployment of the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration.

"The lawlessness that continues at our southern border is fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security, and sovereignty of the American people," Trump wrote in a memo authorizing the move, adding that his administration had "no choice but to act."

The announcement came hours after Trump pledged "strong action today" on immigration and a day after he said he announced he wanted to use the military to secure the southern border until his long-promised, stalled border wall is erected.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she had been working with governors of the southwest border states to develop agreements on where and how many Guardsmen will be deployed.

She suggested some troops could begin arriving as soon as Wednesday night, though other administration officials cautioned that details on troop levels, locations and timing were still being worked out.

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Trump scales back US goals in Syria, leaves future to others

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is dramatically scaling back U.S. goals in Syria as he pushes for a quick military withdrawal, Trump administration officials said Wednesday, abandoning plans to stay long-term to stabilize the country and prevent the Islamic State group from re-emerging.

Trump has given no formal order to pull out the 2,000 U.S. troops currently in Syria, nor offered a public timetable, other than to say the United States will pull out just as soon as the last remaining IS fighters can be vanquished. But Trump has signalled to his advisers that ideally, he wants all troops out within six months, according to three U.S. officials - a finale that would come shortly before the U.S. midterm elections.

In his haste to withdraw from Syria, Trump stands alone. The Pentagon, the State Department and CIA are all deeply concerned about the potential ramifications if the U.S. leaves behind a power vacuum in Syria, as are Israel, Arab leaders and other nations in the U.S.-led coalition that has fought IS in Iraq and Syria since 2014.

The president made clear his patience was running out as he met top national security aides on Tuesday. Yet the meeting concluded with no hard-and-fast deadline handed down, leaving Trump's team struggling to deduce how fast is fast enough for Trump, according to officials briefed on the meeting who weren't authorized to discuss it and requested anonymity.

The tense disagreement between Trump and his team has played out in chaotic and increasingly public fashion. On Tuesday, before the Syria meeting, Trump was telling television cameras he wanted to "get out," just as the U.S. special envoy for fighting IS insisted "our mission isn't over." And on Wednesday, the White House issued a statement that declared the IS mission is "coming to a rapid end" but avoided specifics altogether.

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10 Things to Know for Thursday

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

1. WHO'S GETTING THEIR MARCHING ORDERS

Trump and border-state governors work to "immediately" deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration.

2. 'THE TASK IS UNFINISHED'

With thoughts on the past and eyes to the future, thousands march and sing civil rights songs to honour the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

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Admirers mourn King, pledge to carry on unfinished work

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Fifty years after a shot rang out in Memphis, killing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., freedom rang from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel as a bell tolled 39 times to mark a life cut short by racism.

King died among the most hated men in America, but Wednesday, admirers grateful for his life and legacy mourned his loss and pledged to carry on his unfinished work to end racial injustice and economic inequality

"Nothing would be more tragic than for us to stop at this point," said the Rev. William Barber, who will renew King's Poor People Campaign this spring. "We must go up together or go down together. What he said then is what we must do now."

A host of tributes to the slain civil rights leader were held across the country. At the epicenter was Memphis, where King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while in town for a sanitation workers' strike. The dignity of the workers paralleled this year's anniversary, with teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky walking out of schools to push for more funding.

The triple evils of racism, poverty and war that King hammered at the end of his life linger — from economic, educational, housing and health disparities to the looming threat of nuclear war. Both the speakers and marchers of the day pledged their commitment to picking up King's mantle.

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As Oklahoma teachers strike drags on, frustration mounts

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — When Oklahoma Republicans finally passed a massive tax hike for hundreds of millions of new dollars for public schools and teacher pay raises, they thought they would get a thank you.

Instead, educators and their supporters marched on the Capitol. They brought pent-up with them frustration after years of budget cuts, swelling class sizes and a decade without a raise.

Their protests, and some school closures, will continue for a fourth straight day Thursday amid a movement in red states from West Virginia to Kentucky to Arizona to press for more money in classrooms.

Now these teachers face a tough question as the walkout threatens to keep many schools closed for the rest of the week — do they risk losing public support for their efforts, especially after lawmakers handed them much of what they asked for?

"There's always that concern, but our parents are just as frustrated as we are," said Amy Radtke, a high-school science teacher from Norman, a college town about 20 miles (32 kilometres) south of the Capitol in Oklahoma City, where schools will remain closed for the rest of the week.

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Facebook scandal affected more users than thought: up to 87M

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook revealed Wednesday that tens of millions more people might have been exposed in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal than previously thought and said it will restrict the user data that outsiders can access.

Those developments came as congressional officials said CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify next week, while Facebook unveiled a new privacy policy that aims to explain the data it gathers on users more clearly — but doesn't actually change what it collects and shares.

In a call with reporters Wednesday, Zuckerberg acknowledged he made a "huge mistake" in failing to take a broad enough view of what Facebook's responsibility is in the world. He said it isn't enough for Facebook to believe app developers when they say they follow the rules. He says Facebook has to ensure they do.

Facebook is facing its worst privacy scandal in years following allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-affiliated data mining firm, used ill-gotten data from millions of users through an app to try to influence elections.

Facebook said Wednesday that as many as 87 million people might have had their data accessed — an increase from the 50 million disclosed in published reports. Facebook is basing the estimate in part on the number of friends each user might have had. Cambridge Analytica said in a statement that it had data for only 30 million people.

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Congress' challenge: How to tame industry giant Facebook

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook isn't just a company. It's a behemoth, with 2.1 billion monthly users, $40 billion in revenue and more than 25,000 employees worldwide.

And that leaves Washington with a daunting task: How do you tame a corporate giant? Or do you even try?

"It's tricky and it's going to be hard, but there are ways it can be dealt with," says Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a former tech executive who has led investigations into Russian interference on social media over the last year as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. "The idea that we're going to keep the wild, wild West — I don't think it's sustainable."

The picture will begin to come into focus next week. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify April 10 and 11 before Senate and House committees as his company grapples with the privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm linked to President Donald Trump.

Facebook's reckoning in Washington comes on multiple fronts. Russia's use of the platform to meddle in U.S. elections, a regulatory investigation that could result in fines of hundreds of millions of dollars against the company for privacy violations, and the Cambridge Analytica episode are all topmost concerns.

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Dems, GOP using immigration in House races, but differently

WASHINGTON (AP) — Both Democrats and Republicans think the stalemate between President Donald Trump and Congress over immigration can help them in November's congressional elections. Each could be right.

In House races across the country, both parties are using the fight over immigration — fanned by tweets from President Donald Trump about a crisis on the Mexican border that others say doesn't exist — to fire up base voters in midterm elections. Democrats think it can help them reach minorities, young people and suburban moderates repelled by Trump's strident anti-immigrant stances, while Republicans have noted his success in using promises to crack down on immigration to energize disaffected conservatives.

As a result, Democrats are using the issue to emphasize inclusivity and are targeting border regions, suburbs and areas with immigrant populations. Republicans, whose districts tend to be less diverse, plan to make immigration a law-and-order issue that appeals to conservatives all around the U.S.

The debate is likely to roil races in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, perhaps New Mexico and Virginia's Washington, D.C., suburbs. One diverse Southern California House district centred on the sprawl of Orange County has already become a testing ground for each party's immigration strategy.

The retirement of 13-term Republican Rep. Ed Royce makes the seat a prime target for Democrats trying to pick up 23 seats in November's elections, enough to grab House control. Seventeen GOP, Democratic and independent candidates are vying in a multiparty June 5 primary, a group that includes a Republican who has worked to scuttle pro-immigrant sanctuary city laws and a Democrat who fled Vietnam as a child.

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Police: YouTube shooter was calm in interview before attack

MENIFEE, Calif. (AP) — Just hours before she shot and wounded three people at YouTube headquarters, Nasim Aghdam calmly told police who found her sleeping in her car that she was having family problems and had left her home.

During the 20-minute interview with officers early Tuesday, she did not mention being angry with YouTube or having accused the company of suppressing her video posts. She gave no indication she was a threat to herself or others.

"It was a very normal conversation. There was nothing in her behaviour that suggested anything unusual," said Mountain View Police Chief Max Bosel.

Later that day, she went to a gun range before walking through a parking garage into a courtyard at YouTube's campus south of San Francisco, where she opened fire with a handgun and wounded three people. She then killed herself.

The sequence of Aghdam's activities emerged Wednesday as police continued gathering information about the attacker and her motives.

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On the brink: US and China threaten tariffs as fears rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world's two biggest economies stand at the edge of the most perilous trade conflict since World War II. Yet there's still time to pull back from the brink.

Financial markets bounced up and down Wednesday over the brewing U.S.-China trade war after Beijing and Washington proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other's products in a battle over the aggressive tactics China employs to develop its high-tech industries.

"The risks of escalation are clear," Adam Slater, global economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in a research note. "Threats to the U.S.-China relationship are the most dangerous for global growth."

There's time for the two countries to resolve the dispute through negotiations in the coming weeks. The United States will not tax 1,300 Chinese imports — from hearing aids to flamethrowers — until it has spent weeks collecting public comments. It's likely to get an earful from American farmers and businesses that want to avoid a trade war at all costs.

Also, China did not say when it would impose tariffs on 106 U.S. products, including soybeans and small aircraft, and it announced it is challenging America's import duties at the World Trade Organization.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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