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

Current Conditions

17.7°C

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

March 05, 2018 - 8:04 PM

Trump, Ryan face off in rare public GOP clash over tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a remarkably public confrontation, House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republican allies of President Donald Trump pleaded with him Monday to back away from his threatened international tariffs, which they fear could spark a dangerous trade war. Trump retorted: "We're not backing down."

The president said U.S. neighbours Canada and Mexico would not be spared from his plans for special import taxes on steel and aluminum, but he held out the possibility of later exempting the longstanding friends if they agree to better terms for the U.S. in talks aimed at revising the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"We've had a very bad deal with Mexico; we've had a very bad deal with Canada. It's called NAFTA," he declared.

Trump spoke shortly after a spokeswoman for Ryan, a Trump ally, said the GOP leader was "extremely worried" that the proposed tariffs would set off a trade war and urged the White House "to not advance with this plan."

Likewise, Republican leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee circulated a letter opposing Trump's plan, and GOP congressional leaders suggested they may attempt to prevent the tariffs if the president moves forward.

___

Ex-Trump aide says he'll likely co-operate with Mueller

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Trump campaign aide spent much of Monday promising to defy a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller, even throwing down the challenge to "arrest me," then backed off his defiance by saying he would probably co-operate in the end.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sam Nunberg said he was angry over Mueller's request to have him appear in front of a grand jury and turn over thousands of emails and other communications with other ex-officials, among them his mentor Roger Stone. But he predicted that, in the end, he'd find a way to comply.

"I'm going to end up co-operating with them," he said.

It was a reversal from his tone throughout the day, when he lashed out at Trump and his campaign and threatened to defy Mueller in a series of interviews.

"Why do I have to do it?" Nunberg told CNN of the subpoena. "I'm not co-operating," he said later as he challenged officials to charge him.

___

Man arrested, accused of stealing McDormand's Oscar trophy

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man was arrested and is accused of stealing Frances McDormand's Oscars trophy after the Academy Awards on Sunday night, Los Angeles police said.

Terry Bryant, 47, was arrested on suspicion of felony grand theft, said Officer Rosario Herrera, a police spokeswoman.

Video captured by The Associated Press appears to show Bryant walking with the statuette out of the Governors Ball, the Oscars after-party where police say he took it.

The video shows a man in a tuxedo who appears to be Bryant holding an Oscar statuette highly and proudly as an onlooker cheers.

"All right baby boys, and baby girls," he says, walking quickly and nearly bumping into a woman.

___

10 Things to Know for Tuesday

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

1. TRUMP'S TARIFF VOW ROILS GOP

The president insists "we're not backing down" on his pledge to slap stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum, despite strong opposition from congressional Republicans.

2. KOREANS HOLD 'OPENHEARTED' TALKS

Kim Jong Un meets with envoys for South Korea's president, the North says. It's the first time officials from Seoul have met with the young North Korean leader since he took power in 2011.

___

Freed Russian spy reportedly sickened after mystery exposure

SALISBURY, England (AP) — A former Russian spy was critically ill after exposure to an "unknown substance," British media reported in a case that immediately drew parallels to the poisoning of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

National and local authorities said only that a man and a woman were found unconscious Sunday afternoon on a bench in a shopping mall in Salisbury, about 90 miles (145 kilometres) west of London.

British media identified him as Sergei Skripal, 66, who was convicted in Russia on charges of spying for Britain and sentenced in 2006 to 13 years in prison. Skripal was freed in 2010 as part of a U.S.-Russian spy swap.

Wiltshire Police, which is responsible for the Salisbury area, said the man and woman appeared to know one another and had no visible injuries. "They are currently being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance. Both are currently in a critical condition in intensive care," the police department said in a statement.

The discovery led to a dramatic decontamination effort. Crews in billowing yellow moon suits worked into the night spraying down the street, and the Salisbury hospital's emergency room was closed.

___

West Virginia teacher strike headed for a 9th day

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Striking teachers in West Virginia delivered yet another message to lawmakers Monday by packing the state capitol to capacity, the eighth school day of the walkout.

The show of support by thousands didn't immediately sway the lawmakers, who failed to agree on a 5 per cent pay raise that would end the strike, forcing districts to cancel school again Tuesday. The governor, union leaders and the House of Delegates agreed to the pay raise for the teachers, among the lowest paid in the nation, but the Senate offered only a 4 per cent increase.

However, a conference committee of House and Senate members met twice Monday, adjourning until Tuesday morning after Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns said his chamber's leadership was offering "a compromise position." He noted it was only preliminary. Details were not publicly disclosed.

Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, and Ferns, R-Ohio, said earlier that they remained skeptical that revised, higher revenue figures from Gov. Jim Justice to support the higher pay raises were legitimate. Blair suggested that schools reopen while the Legislature tries to work on the bills, prompting groans from the audience.

Ghent Elementary second-grade teacher April Smith attended the meeting and was disheartened.

___

AP NewsBreak: Miss. Sen. Thad Cochran resigning April 1

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi said Monday he will resign because of health problems — triggering what could be a chaotic special election to fill the seat he has held for a generation.

Cochran, who turned 80 in December and has been in poor health, has been a sporadic presence on Capitol Hill in recent months. He stayed home for a month last fall, returning to Washington in October to give Republicans the majority they needed to pass a budget plan. He has since kept a low profile and an aide ever present at his side.

"I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge," Cochran said in a statement. "It has been a great honour to serve the people of Mississippi and our country. I've done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state. ... My hope is by making this announcement now, a smooth transition can be ensured so their voice will continue to be heard in Washington, D.C."

Cochran said his resignation is effective April 1, allowing Republican Gov. Phil Bryant to appoint a temporary replacement to fill the seat until a special election Nov. 6. The winner would serve until the end of Cochran's term in January 2021.

Cochran's departure sets off a scramble within a state Republican Party already struggling to manage a disaffected conservative faction. The special election is expected to attract several candidates, including the outspoken, tea party-backed state senator who came close to defeating Cochran in a bitter 2014 Republican primary. Republican Chris McDaniel, who said last week he would challenge Mississippi's other GOP senator, Roger Wicker, said Monday it is "premature" to say whether he will run for the newly open seat.

___

North Korean dictator, Seoul envoys have 'openhearted talk'

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had an "openhearted talk" in Pyongyang with envoys for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the North said Tuesday.

It's the first time South Korean officials have met with the young North Korean leader in person since he took power after his dictator father's death in late 2011 — and the latest sign that the Koreas are trying to mend ties after a year of repeated North Korean weapons tests and threats of nuclear war.

North Korea's state media said Kim expressed his desire to "write a new history of national reunification" during a dinner Monday night that Seoul said lasted about four hours.

Given the robust history of bloodshed, threats and animosity on the Korean Peninsula, there is considerable skepticism over whether the Koreas' apparent warming relations will lead to lasting peace.

North Korea, some believe, is trying to use improved ties with the South to weaken U.S.-led international sanctions and pressure, and to provide domestic propaganda fodder for Kim Jong Un.

___

Trump dangles Israel trip for new embassy; mum on peace plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under twin clouds of legal investigation, President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a united front on Monday, Trump announcing he might travel to Jerusalem to preside over the opening of the new U.S. Embassy Netanyahu had wanted, and the Israeli lavishing praise on the American leader.

In a show of strong support for Netanyahu, who faces corruption allegations at home, Trump dangled the possibility of his second visit to Israel as president. However, he said nothing about whether he would use the trip to unveil his much-vaunted but still mysterious peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians.

The president said his controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city had improved chances for ending the conflict, despite Palestinians' insistence otherwise. The two steps enraged the Palestinians, who claim part of Jerusalem for the capital of an eventual state and accuse Trump of abandoning the U.S. role of honest broker.

Trump and his wife, Melania, welcomed Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, to the White House just hours after Israeli police announced that a third confidant of the prime minister had agreed to turn state's witness in the burgeoning corruption case. Netanyahu and his wife were questioned separately by police for hours on Friday before their departure for Washington.

Monday's meeting also came amid the continuing U.S. investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, a probe that may have implications for the president's Mideast peace point man, son-in-law Jared Kushner, who recently lost his top secret security clearance. And, it took place as profound turmoil in the Middle East threatens hopes of a resumption in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and attempts to restore stability in the volatile region more broadly.

___

Italy's populist parties rule the day, but will they rule?

ROME (AP) — Italy's voters have spoken, and the populists ruled the day. But whether these euroskeptics can put aside their distrust and rivalries to rule together was the big question Monday as the nation embarked on a new era following a quarter-century of largely predictable coalition-formula politics.

More than half the ballots cast Sunday went to two populist forces that knew how to read the angry mood in a country where the brightest youths must go abroad to find decent careers and where hundreds of thousands of migrants were essentially marooned when many European Union partners slammed the door on these asylum-seekers rescued at sea.

The math added up to big dilemma, though. Because no party or coalition captured enough seats to rule alone, and because the populists went into the election as sharp rivals despite their similar "Italy, first," stances, it was unclear if a government with the potential to last could be forged to tackle Italy's pressing economic and social problems.

No one seemed to have the answer Monday.

"The (next) government is an enigma," read the front-page headline of the daily Corriere della Sera.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

  • Popular vernon News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile