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

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

March 09, 2018 - 8:04 PM

A look at what's ahead in a landmark Trump-Kim summit

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — After a year of threats and diatribes, U.S. President Donald Trump and third-generation North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un have agreed to meet face-to-face for talks about the North's nuclear program.

It remains to be seen whether a summit, if it takes place, could lead to any meaningful breakthrough after an unusually provocative year. North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear weapon to date and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles theoretically capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

Will there be a breakthrough? Failure? Or merely the start of another long and difficult process meant to remove the North's nuclear capabilities?

Here's a look at what may lie ahead and the challenges that remain:

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Gunman takes hostages at veterans home, won't answer police

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A gunman slipped into an employee going-away party at the largest veterans home in the United States and took three people hostage Friday morning in a shootout and standoff that has kept the sprawling California grounds locked down for hours, authorities and family members said.

Nearly eight hours after the standoff began at about 10:30 a.m., authorities said they still didn't know what was going on inside the room where the gunman and the hostages were.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Robert Nacke told reporters Friday evening that the conditions of the hostages were not known and that negotiators had not been able to reach the gunman by phone after trying for several hours.

Nacke said the situation remained "dynamic and active" during the brief news conference and that police tactical teams were deciding how to proceed.

Authorities said they know who the gunman is but didn't reveal his identity or know the motive for the attack at the state-run Veterans Home of California-Yountville, in one of Napa Valley's most upscale towns in the heart of wine country.

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Trump getting Washington military parade _ but no tanks

WASHINGTON (AP) — It looks like President Donald Trump is getting the military parade he wants in Washington — though he may get no tanks for the effort.

A Pentagon planning memo issued Thursday and released Friday says the parade being planned for Nov. 11, Veterans Day, will "include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks — consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure." Big, heavy tanks could tear up District of Columbia streets.

But the event will "include a heavy air component at the end of the parade," meaning lots of airplane flyovers. Older aircraft will be included as available.

The memo from the office of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis offers initial planning guidance to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose staff will plan the parade along a route from the White House to the Capitol, and integrate it with the city's annual veterans' parade. Northern Command, which oversees U.S. troops in North America, will execute the parade.

Trump decided he wanted a military parade in Washington after he attended France's Bastille Day celebration in the centre of Paris last July. As the invited guest of French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump watched enthusiastically from a reviewing stand as the French military showcased its tanks and fighter jets, including many U.S.-made planes, along the famed Champs-Elysees.

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Slow recovery from latest nor'easter; 3rd storm on tap?

BOSTON (AP) — The sun came out across much of the Northeast on Friday as utilities tackled the arduous task of restoring power to hundreds of thousands of customers who lost electricity during the storm that hit the region this week, all with the possibility of a third nor'easter in the offing.

Utilities asked for patience, warning that because of the damage caused by the storm that dropped 2 feet of snow in some areas, pulling down trees, branches and power lines and blocking roads, it could be days before power is back on.

"We are making steady progress but realize if your power is out, those milestones don't mean anything to you. We completely get that," said Christine Milligan, a spokesman for utility National Grid in Massachusetts.

Power crews were working to restore electricity to more than 200,000 customers in Northeast on Friday night. New Jersey and Massachusetts had the most outages, according to the poweroutage.us website, which compiles statistics from utilities across the nation.

Utility PSE&G in New Jersey said it had workers from as far away as Indiana helping local crews repair damaged lines and reset utility poles. Nearly 600 additional tree trimmers also were clearing branches and debris. It expected most customers to have their power restored by Saturday.

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Soon after governor signs gun bill, NRA sues to block it

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Weeks after their children were gunned down in the worst high school shooting since Columbine, parents of the victims stood in the Florida Capitol and watched Gov. Rick Scott sign a far-reaching bill that places new restrictions on guns.

Hours later, the National Rifle Association filed a federal lawsuit to block it.

The new law capped an extraordinary three weeks of lobbying after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with student survivors and grieving families working to persuade a Republican-run state government that had shunned gun control measures.

Surrounded by family members of the 17 people killed in the Valentine's Day shooting, the GOP governor said the bill balances "our individual rights with need for public safety."

"It's an example to the entire country that government can and has moved fast," said Scott, whose state has been ruled for 20 years by gun-friendly Republican lawmakers.

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Florida school shooting response caught on radio traffic

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — As deputies began responding to last month's deadly Florida school shooting, the school's armed resource officer radioed that shots were coming from the freshman building, but he advised officers to stay back — a seeming failure to follow widely established guidelines to immediately confront the attacker in active shooter situations.

Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson's radio calls in the minutes after the Feb. 14 shooting show he almost immediately realized gunshots were being fired inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. That contradicts a statement issued Feb. 26 by his lawyer saying Peterson, who was assigned to the school, "believed that those gunshots were originating from outside any of the buildings on the school campus."

If Peterson knew the location of the shooter, Broward County Sheriff's Office mass shooting guidelines required him to enter the building and kill or stop the gunman. Such protocols are near-universal among U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Peterson, who has denied wrongdoing, retired shortly after the shooting rather than accept a suspension. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and President Donald Trump publicly criticized his actions and he is being investigated by internal affairs.

The radio transmissions, released late Thursday, also appear to contradict reports that a Broward captain ordered deputies not to enter the building. In fact, it was Peterson who advised officers to stay at least 500 feet away. It's not clear if anyone heeded his request, but it contradicts standard active shooter procedures in place since the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School, when officers remained outside while waiting for a SWAT team, which allowed the two shooters time to continue their rampage unchallenged.

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'Pharma Bro' gets 7 years in prison in securities fraud case

NEW YORK (AP) — The smirk wiped off his face, a crying Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud Friday in a hard fall for the pharmaceutical-industry bad boy vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug.

Shkreli, the boyish-looking, 34-year-old entrepreneur dubbed the "Pharma Bro" for his loutish behaviour, was handed his punishment after a hearing in which he and his attorney struggled with limited success to make him a sympathetic figure. His own lawyer confessed to wanting to punch him in the face sometimes.

The defendant hung his head and choked up as he admitted to many mistakes and apologized to the investors he was convicted of defrauding. At one point, a clerk handed him a box of tissues.

"I'm not the same person I was," Shkreli said. "I know right from wrong. I know what it means to tell the truth and what it means to lie."

He also said: "The only person to blame for me being here today is me. There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli."

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US hiring surge last month pulls in flood of new workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers went on a hiring binge in February, adding 313,000 jobs, amid rising business confidence lifted by the Trump administration's tax cuts and a resilient global economy.

The surprisingly robust hiring, reported by the Labor Department on Friday, was the strongest in 1 1/2 years.

It was accompanied by the biggest surge in 15 years in the number of people either working or looking for work. That kept the nation's unemployment rate unchanged for a fifth straight month at 4.1 per cent.

At the same time, average wage growth slowed to 2.6 per cent in February from a year earlier. That was down from January's revised pace of 2.8 per cent, which had spooked investors because it raised fears of inflation.

The hiring boom caught many economists off guard, because they expected a smaller — though still healthy — increase. Job gains typically slow as the unemployment rate falls, because companies run out of workers to hire.

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China silences critics of move to make Xi president for life

BEIJING (AP) — The day China's ruling Communist Party unveiled a proposal to allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely as Mao Zedong did a generation ago, Ma Bo was so shaken he couldn't sleep.

So Ma, a renowned writer, wrote a social media post urging the party to remember the history of unchecked one-man rule that ended in catastrophe.

"History is regressing badly," Ma thundered in his post. "As a Chinese of conscience, I cannot stay silent!"

Censors silenced him anyway, swiftly wiping his post from the internet.

As China's rubber-stamp legislature prepares to approve constitutional changes abolishing term limits for the president on Sunday, signs of dissent and biting satire have been all but snuffed out. The stifling censorship leaves intellectuals, young white-collar workers and retired veterans of past political campaigns using roundabout ways to voice their concerns. For many, it's a foreshadowing of greater political repression ahead.

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NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

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NOT REAL: Meddling globalist George Soros named as the puppet master behind student gun control push

THE FACTS: Billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros isn't bankrolling student survivors pushing for gun control after the Feb. 14 Florida school shooting. False stories claimed Soros, a frequent target of conspiracy theories, is directing student activists as part of a "National Gun Control Movement" and is connected to a group organizing March 14 school walkouts against gun violence. His spokeswoman, Laura Silber, said he is not providing any funding to the students and that his foundation doesn't currently fund organizations working to prevent gun violence.

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News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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