'Cowardly act of terror': Truck driver kills 8 on bike path
NEW YORK (AP) — A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial on Tuesday, killing at least eight and seriously injuring 11 in what the mayor called "a particularly cowardly act of terror."
The driver was shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouting what witnesses said was "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," authorities said. The man underwent surgery and was in critical condition but was expected to survive.
Officials who were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity identified the attacker as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov and said he is from Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. legally in 2010. He has a Florida driver's license but may have been staying in New Jersey, they said.
The driver barrelled along the bike path in a rented Home Depot truck for the equivalent of about 14 blocks, or around eight-tenths of a mile, before slamming into a small yellow school bus. The mayhem and the burst of police gunfire set off panic in the neighbourhood and left the pavement strewn with mangled bicycles and bodies that were soon covered with sheets.
"I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground," said Chen Yi, an Uber driver.
House GOP leaders delay tax plan release amid changes
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans, straining to make last-minute changes to their far-reaching tax proposal, on Tuesday delayed the rollout by a day after they failed to finalize the details.
The plan pushed by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress is a top legislative priority. The details originally were to be unveiled on Wednesday, but that was delayed until Thursday, said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
The committee had worked throughout the day and evening to produce a plan for the first overhaul of the nation's tax code in three decades.
"We are making excellent progress. We are very close," Brady told reporters late Tuesday night. "A lot of work remains with the drafters, they are continuing to work through the night. We are moving forward."
At the White House, an official said Trump looked forward to seeing legislation this week, adding the administration was confident the delay wouldn't affect the ultimate timing of the bill. Brady said his panel plans to vote on the bill next week.
10 Things to Know for Wednesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:
1. 8 KILLED IN 'COWARDLY ACT OF TERROR' IN NYC
A 29-year-old man in a rented pickup truck mows down pedestrians and bicyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial, leaving bodies in his wake.
2. WHAT'S BEING LEARNED ABOUT GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS
Newly unsealed court papers outline the former Trump adviser's frequent contacts with senior campaign officials and with foreign nationals who promised access to the highest levels of the Russian government.
Women rescued by Navy defend their account of ordeal at sea
HONOLULU (AP) — Two women from Hawaii who were rescued after being lost at sea defended their account of the ordeal Tuesday, insisting that a storm was whipping up 30-foot waves and near hurricane-force winds on the night they set sail, despite records that show no severe weather in the area.
The Coast Guard is reviewing records from the days after Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava put to sea in a 50-foot sailboat, but NASA satellite images for the days around their departure show no organized storms in the region where they planned to travel.
There was a tropical cyclone, but it was near Fiji, thousands of miles west of Hawaii. Localized squalls are known to pop up, but a storm lasting three days would have been visible on satellite and would have elicited mass warnings to the public to brace for the weather.
"We got into a Force 11 storm, and it lasted for two nights and three days," Appel said.
Coast Guard officials told The Associated Press on Monday that the two women had an emergency beacon but never turned it on because they did not fear for their lives. If they had, rescue would have been headed their way in a matter of minutes.
Pruitt guts EPA science panels, will appoint new members
WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday he intends to replace the outside experts that advise him on science and public health issues with new board members holding more diverse views.
In announcing the changes, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt suggested many previously appointed to the panels were potentially biased because they had received federal research grants. The 22 boards advise EPA on a wide range of issues, including drinking water standards and pesticide safety.
"Whatever science comes out of EPA shouldn't be political science," said Pruitt, a Republican lawyer who previously served as the attorney general of Oklahoma. "From this day forward, EPA advisory committee members will be financially independent from the agency."
Pruitt has expressed skepticism about the consensus of climate scientists that man-made carbon emissions are the primary cause of global warming. He also overruled experts that had recommended pulling a top-selling pesticide from the market after peer-reviewed studies showed it damaged children's brains.
Pruitt said he will name new leadership and members to three key EPA advisory boards soon — the Science Advisory Board, Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Board of Scientific Counselors.
Ex-Trump adviser's guilty plea poised to rattle White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump dismissed George Papadopoulos on Tuesday as a "liar" and a mere campaign volunteer, but newly unsealed court papers outline the former adviser's frequent contacts with senior officials and with foreign nationals who promised access to the highest levels of the Russian government.
They also hint at more headaches for the White House and former campaign officials. Papadopoulos, now co-operating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he investigates possible co-ordination between Russia and Trump's 2016 White House campaign, is poised to dish.
Records made public Monday in Papadopoulos' case list a gaggle of people who were in touch with him during the campaign but only with such identifiers as "Campaign Supervisor," ''Senior Policy Advisor" and "High-Ranking Campaign Official." Two of the unnamed campaign officials referenced are in fact former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, both. charged with financial crimes in an indictment unsealed Monday.
The conversations described in charging documents cut to the heart of Mueller's investigation, reflecting Papadopoulos' efforts to arrange meetings between Trump aides and Russian government intermediaries and revealing how he learned the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails."
Though the contacts may not by themselves have been illegal, the oblique but telling references to unnamed people — including "Professor" and "Female Russian National" — make clear that Mueller's team has identified multiple people who had knowledge of back-and-forth outreach efforts between Russians and associates of the Trump election effort.
Senators blast Facebook, Twitter, Google in Russia probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — Exasperated U.S. senators harshly criticized representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google at a hearing Tuesday for not doing more to prevent Russian agents interfering with the American political process as early as 2015.
At one point, Sen. Al Franken shook his head after he couldn't get all the companies to commit to not accepting political ads bought with North Korean currency.
The hearing by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary panel was moved last week into a cavernous hearing room usually reserved for high-profile events like Supreme Court confirmations. About 50 people waited to get in as senators fired pointed questions and waved at cardboard displays of outrageous ads.
"People are buying ads on your platform with rubles. They are political ads," Franken fumed. "You put billions of data points together all the time. ... Google has all knowledge that man has ever developed. You can't put together rubles with a political ad and go like, 'Hmmm, those data points spell out something pretty bad?' "
Technology company representatives fumbled at points. After Franken pointed out foreign spending on U.S. political campaigns is illegal, Google's director of law enforcement and information security, Richard Salgado, replied only that the search giant would refuse political ads paid with foreign currency "if it's a good enough signal on illegality."
'House of Cards' filming suspended; new Spacey allegations
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood's widening sexual harassment crisis brought forth a second actor's allegation against Kevin Spacey on Tuesday, halted production on his Netflix series "House of Cards" and prompted CBS to check into an actress' claim she was groped by Jeremy Piven.
Mexican actor Robert Cavazos wrote on his Facebook page that he encountered Spacey at the bar of London's Old Vic Theatre, where Spacey was artistic director, and the actor tried to fondle him against his will.
"It was more common for this guy, when he was in the bar of his theatre, grabbing whoever caught his attention," Cavazos wrote. "I didn't stand for it, but I know some people who were afraid to stop it."
Cavazos declined an interview request. There was no immediate reply to a request for comment from representatives for Spacey, who was artistic director from 2004-15.
In a statement Tuesday, the theatre expressed "deep dismay" at the allegations and said "inappropriate behaviour by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable."
California wildfire insurance claims top $3.3 billion
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Property damage claims from a series of deadly October wildfires now exceed $3.3 billion, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Tuesday.
The figure represents claims for homes and businesses insured by 15 companies and is more than triple the previous estimate of $1 billion. Jones said the number will continue to rise as more claims are reported.
The amount of claims now reported means that the fires caused more damage than California's 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which was previously the state's costliest, with $2.7 billion in damages in 2015 dollars, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
Forty-three people were killed in the October blazes that tore through Northern California, including the state's renowned winemaking regions in Napa and Sonoma counties. They destroyed thousands of buildings as more than 100,000 people were forced to evacuate. It was the deadliest series of fires in California history.
The fires are now nearly contained.
Turner returns to 3B for Dodgers in Game 6 of World Series
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Justin Turner is back at third base and hitting third in the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting lineup for Game 6 of the World Series, while the Astros juggled the bottom of their lineup.
Turner served as designated hitter in Game 5 after taking a grounder off a knee during Game 4.
Centre fielder Chris Taylor leads off Tuesday night for the Dodgers, followed by shortstop Corey Seager, Turner, first baseman Cody Bellinger, right fielder Yasiel Puig, left fielder Joc Pederson, second baseman Logan Forsythe and catcher Austin Barnes. Left-hander Rich Hill starts.
Pederson had been the DH in the first two games in Houston before being dropped in Game 5. Kike Hernandez and Charlie Culberson are dropped.
Centre fielder George Springer tops the Astros' order, followed by third baseman Alex Bregman, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, catcher Brian McCann, left fielder Marwin Gonzalez and right fielder Josh Reddick. Right-hander Justin Verlander is on the mound. McCann moves from last to sixth in the lineup and Reddick drops from sixth to last. Evan Gattis, who DH'd in the last game, drops out.