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

April 13, 2019 - 8:05 PM

Workers' rights are a 2020 campaign focus this weekend

DENMARK, S.C. (AP) — The issue of workers' rights is a focus this weekend for some of the Democrats running for president.

At a rally in Warren, Michigan, where General Motors is closing a plant, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called on President Donald Trump to "go back to the drawing board" on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the tentative pact that would replace NAFTA. Sanders said the newly negotiated deal, which has yet to clear Congress, would still let companies such as GM continue to send U.S. jobs to Mexico.

"I challenge Donald Trump: For once in your life, keep your campaign promises," he told a rally of 1,300 gathered in a community college parking lot in suburban Detroit. "Go back to the drawing board on NAFTA. Do not send this treaty to Congress unless it includes strong and swift enforcement mechanisms to raise the wages of workers and to prevent corporations from outsourcing American jobs to Mexico."

Sanders, who spoke earlier in the day at a West Michigan plumbers and pipe fitters union local, narrowly won Michigan's 2016 Democratic primary over Hillary Clinton. She subsequently lost the state to Trump.

Sanders said when Trump ran the first time, his "biggest lie" was that he would "stay with the working class of our country, that he was on their side." Sanders criticized Trump's tax cuts and his attempt to repeal the Obama health care law, adding that the trade deficit has gone up by $180 billion and 185,000 jobs have been moved overseas during Trump's presidency.

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2 children dead, many homes damaged as storms pummel South

DALLAS (AP) — Powerful storms that rolled across the South on Saturday spawned at least two suspected tornadoes, damaged homes and killed two children in Texas, authorities said.

The Angelina County Sheriff's Office said an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old died when strong winds toppled a tree onto the back of their family's car in Lufkin while it was in motion. Capt. Alton Lenderman said the parents, who were in the front seats, were not injured.

Lufkin is about 115 miles (185 kilometres) northeast of Houston. Additional information was not immediately available.

In Central Texas, Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak told The Associated Press a tornado hit the small city of Franklin, overturning mobile homes and damaging other residences. Franklin is located about 125 miles (200 kilometres) south of Dallas.

The National Weather Service said preliminary information showed an EF-3 tornado touched down with winds of 140 mph (225.3 kph). Crews will continue to survey the damage over the next few days.

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Pace of Bering Sea changes startles scientists

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Yupik Eskimo village of Kotlik on Alaska's northwest coast relies on a cold, hard blanket of sea ice to protect homes from vicious winter Bering Sea storms.

Frigid north winds blow down from the Arctic Ocean, freeze saltwater and push sea ice south. The ice normally prevents waves from forming and locks onto beaches, walling off villages. But not this year.

In February, southwest winds brought warm air and turned thin sea ice into "snow cone ice" that melted or blew off. When a storm pounded Norton Sound, water on Feb. 12 surged up the Yukon River and into Kotlik, flooding low-lying homes. Lifelong resident Philomena Keyes, 37, awoke to knee-deep water outside her house.

"This is the first I experienced in my life, a flood that happened in the winter, in February," Keyes said in a phone interview.

Winter storm surge flooding is the latest indication that something's off-kilter around the Bering Strait, the gateway from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean. Rapid, profound changes tied to high atmospheric temperatures, a direct result of climate change, may be reordering the region's physical makeup. Ocean researchers are asking themselves if they're witnessing the transformation of an ecosystem.

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Trump sanctuary city idea could help migrants stay in US

PHOENIX (AP) — An idea floated by President Donald Trump to send immigrants from the border to "sanctuary cities" to exact revenge on Democratic foes could end up doing the migrants a favour by placing them in locations that make it easier to put down roots and stay in the country.

The plan would put thousands of immigrants in cities that are not only welcoming to them, but also more likely to rebuff federal officials carrying out deportation orders. Many of these locations have more resources to help immigrants make their legal cases to stay in the United States than smaller cities, with some of the nation's biggest immigration advocacy groups based in places like San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. The downside for the immigrants would be a high cost of living in the cities.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University announced this week that an analysis found that immigrants in sanctuary cities such as New York and Los Angeles are 20% less likely to be arrested out in the community than in cities without such policies.

"With immigrants being less likely to commit crimes than the U.S.-born population, and with sanctuary jurisdictions being safer and more productive than non-sanctuary jurisdictions, the data damns this proposal as a politically motivated stunt that seeks to play politics with peoples' lives," said George Gascon, district attorney for San Francisco.

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated over the situation at the border, where tens of thousands of immigrant families are crossing each month, many to claim asylum. His administration has attempted several efforts to stop the flow, and he recently shook up the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security.

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Morehouse College to admit transgender men starting in 2020

The country's only all-male historically black college will begin admitting transgender men next year, marking a major shift for the school at a time when higher education institutions around the nation are adopting more welcoming policies toward LGBT students.

Leaders of Morehouse College in Atlanta told The Associated Press that its board of trustees approved the policy on Saturday.

Transgender men will be allowed to enrol in the school for the first time in 2020. Students who identify as women but were born male cannot enrol, however, and anyone who transitions from male to female will not be automatically eligible to receive a degree from the institution.

Morehouse officials hailed the move as an important step toward a more inclusive campus while affirming its mission to educate and develop men.

"I think Morehouse having the courage to speak to issues of masculinity in today's environment is important," Morehouse College President David Thomas told The Associated Press. "For 152 years, the world has, in some way, seen Morehouse as the West Point of black male development."

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House Democrat, treasury chief bicker over Trump tax returns

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top House Democrat on Saturday ratcheted up his demand for access to President Donald Trump's tax returns, telling the IRS that the law clearly gives Congress a right to them. The government's failure to respond by an April 23 deadline could send the dispute into federal court.

Trump's treasury chief, who oversees the IRS, cited "complicated legal issues" and bemoaned "an arbitrary deadline" set by Congress, while saying he would answer in that time frame.

A new letter by Rep. Richard Neal, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, comes after the Trump administration asked for more time to consider his initial request last week. Neal had requested six years of Trump's personal and business tax returns.

Neal, D-Mass., argues that a 1920-era law saying the IRS "shall furnish" any tax return requested by Congress "is unambiguous and raises no complicated legal issues" and that the Treasury Department's objections lack merit.

The letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig is the latest exchange in a tug of war over Trump's returns, which would give lawmakers far greater insight into the president's business dealings and potential conflicts of interest as it exercises its oversight role.

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Chief: Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony being treated

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — A 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America near Minneapolis remains hospitalized with serious injuries, authorities said Saturday.

Bloomington police Chief Jeffrey Potts said during a news conference that the boy fell nearly 40 feet after a man who apparently didn't know the boy or his family threw him off the balcony Friday. Authorities haven't released the boy's name and say his family has requested privacy.

Potts said he couldn't give an update on the boy's status, except to say that he's being cared for at the hospital and that his parents are with him. Hospital officials haven't responded to requests for a status update.

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, was arrested at the mall's transit station after the attack and is jailed on a suspicion of attempted homicide charge. Potts credited bystanders and mall security for his quick capture.

"This is a horrific situation," Potts said.

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Large, flightless bird attacks and kills its fallen owner

ALACHUA, Fla. (AP) — A large, flightless bird native to Australia and New Guinea attacked and killed its owner when the man fell on his farm in Florida, authorities said Saturday.

The Alachua County Fire Rescue Department told the Gainesville Sun that a cassowary killed the man Friday on the property near Gainesville, likely using its long claws. The victim was apparently breeding the birds, state wildlife officials said.

"My understanding is that the gentleman was in the vicinity of the bird and at some point fell. When he fell, he was attacked," Deputy Chief Jeff Taylor told the newspaper. He said first responders got a call at 10 a.m. Friday and rushed the man to a hospital for trauma care but he died.

The county sheriff's office identified the victim as Marvin Hajos, 75, and said a death investigation has been opened.

"Initial information indicates that this was a tragic accident for Mr. Hajos," said Lt. Brett Rhodenizer, a sheriff's office spokesman, in an email to the paper. "The cassowary involved remains secured on private property at this time."

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Molinari builds 2-shot lead over Woods, Finau in Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Record scores on the white boards at Augusta National. Ground-shaking roars for Tiger Woods along the back nine.

Francesco Molinari blocked out the buzz on a delirious day of nine players sharing space atop the leaderboard Saturday. He emerged with another rock-solid round that looked spectacular only on his scorecard.

Molinari ran off four straight birdies on the back nine for a 6-under 66 that kept Woods and everyone else at a short arm's length going into a Sunday unlike any other at the Masters — an early start because of storms forecast for Sunday afternoon, with threesomes going off the first and 10th tees. The leaders were to tee off at 9:20 a.m.

That puts Woods in the final group at the Masters for the first time in 12 years, two shots behind.

Molinari played with Woods on the final day at Carnoustie last summer and outplayed the 14-time major champion amid a crowded leaderboard to win the British Open.

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Shame, sadness in UK as Brexit reveals Parliament's flaws

LONDON (AP) — As a symbol of the woes of Britain's Brexit-era democracy, it could hardly be bettered. Lawmakers had to be sent home in mid-debate last week when water from a burst pipe began gushing into the House of Commons chamber.

The image perfectly illustrates Parliament's problem as it tries to solve the puzzle that is Brexit. On the outside, the U.K. institution is resplendent, a world-famous symbol of democracy sitting majestically on the River Thames. On the inside, it's decrepit and increasingly unfit for use.

The hidden flaws in Britain's political system have been laid bare — and televised worldwide — since voters chose, almost three years ago, to leave the European Union.

Decision-making has ground to a standstill, even as business leaders and residents alike cry out for certainty. Many Britons feel a mix of frustration, fascination and shame at the ongoing political chaos. So do politicians on both sides of the Brexit divide.

"I am ashamed to be a member of this Parliament," said pro-EU Liberal Democrat lawmaker Norman Lamb after lawmakers once again failed to find a way forward on Brexit.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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