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

November 30, 2017 - 8:05 PM

Senate weighs scaling back tax package to win deficit hawks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans weighed scaling back the tax cuts in their massive package to secure crucial support as congressional analysts said Thursday the legislation would add $1 trillion to the nation's debt over the next decade.

Republicans were making major changes to the bill up to the last minute, including one that would roll back some of the tax cuts after six years to appease deficit hawks. The first revamp of the tax code in three decades — a top political priority of President Donald Trump — would affect nearly every American and business.

The scramble to alter the bill came after senators said the chamber's parliamentarian had ruled that automatic "triggers" designed to guard against big deficits would violate Senate rules. GOP leaders' main concern was winning over lawmakers, including Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, concerned about adding more red ink to the deficit.

GOP leaders also were struggling to placate Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who wanted an increase in the deduction for business income.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had expressed confidence early in the day, but he has little margin for error with a 52-48 majority. He can afford to lose two votes while counting on Vice-President Mike Pence to break the tie.

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Jury: Mexican man not guilty in San Francisco pier killing

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A jury on Thursday found a Mexican man not guilty in the killing of a woman on a San Francisco pier that touched off a fierce national immigration debate two years ago, rejecting possible charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder.

The shooting of Kate Steinle came during the presidential primary campaign in 2015 and was used by then-candidate Donald Trump to push for a wall on the Mexican border.

The president called the verdict "disgraceful" on Twitter late Thursday.

"No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration," Trump wrote.

The suspect's lawyers said outside court that their client's immigration status was unfairly exploited for political purposes and had nothing to do with the criminal case.

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10 Things to Know for Friday

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

1. TURMOIL WITHIN NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM BURSTS INTO OPEN

After months of clashes, President Trump is considering ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

2. 'I AM TRULY SORRY'

Former "Today" show host Matt Lauer, fired for sexual misconduct, says that repairing the damage he has caused is now his full-time job.

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Trump weighs plan to oust Tillerson, put CIA's boss at State

WASHINGTON (AP) — After months of clashes on policy and personality, President Donald Trump is considering ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with hard-nosed CIA Director Mike Pompeo following less than a year on the job, senior U.S. officials said Thursday as turmoil within Trump's national security team burst into the open.

The White House plan, which Trump has not yet signed off on, would force a major realignment early in his term, also creating a vacancy atop the CIA that officials said could be filled by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. The overhaul could produce a significant shift in both the tone and direction of the president's foreign policy, removing it from the understated former oil man whose style has never fit well with Trump's.

It is exceedingly rare for a secretary of state, America's face on the global stage, to be fired or to serve for a year or less. Nor is it common for presidents to have such a significant Cabinet revamp so soon after taking office. Too much churn could fuel the perception of chaos in the Trump White House — perhaps one reason he has yet to pull the trigger.

Tillerson's likely ouster, which was first reported by the New York Times, loomed awkwardly over an Oval Office meeting Thursday between Trump and the visiting Bahraini crown prince. Asked by a reporter whether he wanted Tillerson to stay on the job, Trump was coy, merely pointing out that Tillerson was in fact in the building.

"He's here. Rex is here," the president said.

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Japan's Emperor Akihito to abdicate on April 30, 2019

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's much admired Emperor Akihito plans to abdicate on April 30, 2019, at age 85 in the first such abdication from the Chrysanthemum Throne in about 200 years, the government said Friday.

Akihito's elder son Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne a day later, on May 1, 2019, beginning a new as yet unnamed era.

The decision was made Friday at a meeting of the Imperial House Council, which included politicians, judicial officials and imperial family members.

Akihito expressed his apparent wish to abdicate in 2016, citing his age and health.

Formal Cabinet approval of the decision is due on Dec. 8, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

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Feds seek 60-year prison sentence for Michigan sports doctor

DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors on Thursday asked for a 60-year prison sentence for a Michigan sports doctor who was caught with child pornography while under investigation for sexually assaulting female gymnasts.

Larry Nassar, 54, who worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, will be sentenced for child porn crimes on Dec. 7. In the last week, he has pleaded guilty to molesting teens and younger girls with his hands in two other cases in state court.

Nassar "has led a double life," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Lewis said in a court filing. "On the surface, he was a respected, world-renowned expert for elite athletes. He was a medical doctor, a husband and a father. But underneath this veneer lurked a predator."

Lewis said Nassar "poses an immense risk to the community."

In July, he pleaded guilty to three charges in federal court in western Michigan, each carrying up to 20 years in prison. Sentences typically run at the same time, but U.S. District Judge Janet Neff can order separate, consecutive punishments.

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Garrison Keillor firing prompts backlash from his fans

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Outraged Garrison Keillor fans deluged Minnesota Public Radio Thursday with complaints about the firing of the humorist over alleged workplace misconduct.

Some say they will no longer support MPR, one of the nation's largest public radio operations, which depends heavily on financial contributions.

MPR said Wednesday it was cutting ties with Keillor, creator and former host of the popular public radio show "A Prairie Home Companion," over an allegation of workplace misconduct. The network did not give details, but Keillor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had put his hand on a woman's bare back while trying to console her.

On Thursday, MPR repeated that it had received just one formal complaint against Keillor, a day after a statement by him raised questions about the extent of the allegations.

Keillor told MPR's news department in an email that two employees had made allegations. MPR spokeswoman Angie Andresen, asked to clear up the discrepancy, said the network has "a formal complaint from an individual that includes multiple allegations related to Garrison's behaviour."

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Allegations of sexual misconduct roiling Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — As allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful lawmakers roil Congress, House Democrats on Thursday delivered their strongest rebuke yet with calls for Michigan Rep. John Conyers' resignation, while those in the Senate reserved judgment for their embattled colleague, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi characterized the multiple accusations against the 88-year-old Conyers, which included repeated propositions for sex, and retaliation against one former aide who rebuffed his advances, as "serious, disappointing and very credible."

In no uncertain terms, the top Democrat in the House said, "Congressman Conyers should resign," a call echoed by other Democratic leaders.

Conyers' lawyer, Arnold Reed, swiftly rejected the request as the lawmaker professes his innocence. "Nancy Pelosi did not elect the congressman, and she sure as hell won't be the one to tell the congressman to leave. That decision will be completely up to the congressman," Reed said.

Reed raised the spectre of a double standard as House Democrats pressed for Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House and a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, to step aside while few have called for Franken to relinquish his seat.

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Siren will wail in Hawaii test for possible nuclear attack

HONOLULU (AP) — Just days after North Korea tested its most powerful missile yet, Hawaii is dusting off a relic not heard on the islands since the end of the Cold War.

The monthly test of Hawaii's siren warning system for tsunamis and other natural disasters will have an added tone when it sounds Friday — one designed to alert residents of an impending nuclear attack.

"We believe that it is imperative that we be prepared for every disaster, and in today's world, that includes a nuclear attack," Hawaii Gov. David Ige said, adding that the possibility is remote.

Ige said the new test will ensure the public knows what they should do in case of an imminent attack. If a missile is launched, residents and tourists would have less than 20 minutes to take shelter, officials said.

"There needs to be different action taken should there be a nuclear attack than what is expected for a hurricane or tsunami," the governor said this week.

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Jim Nabors, who made cheery Gomer Pyle a TV icon, dies at 87

NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Nabors made good on his last name when he brought Gomer Pyle to "The Andy Griffith Show." His big-hearted, ever-cheery gas-pump jockey was a neighbourly fit in the easygoing town of Mayberry.

But when Gomer enlisted in the Marines for five TV seasons, he truly blossomed. So did the actor who portrayed him.

Nabors, who died Thursday at 87, made Pvt. Gomer Pyle a perfect foil for the immovable object of Marines boot camp: Grinning, gentle Gomer was the irresistible force.

On "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," a spinoff from "The Andy Griffith Show" that premiered in 1964, Gomer arrived in the fictional Camp Henderson with a happy attitude and eager innocence that flew in the face of everything he found awaiting him there, especially irascible Sgt. Vince Carter, played by Frank Sutton.

It's a measure of Nabors' skill in inhabiting the anything-but-militaristic Gomer that this character was widely beloved, and the show a Top 10 hit, during an era when the Vietnam War was dividing America. His trademark "Shazam," ''Gollllll-lee," and "Surprise, surprise, surprise" were parroted by millions.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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