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

September 26, 2017 - 8:05 PM

Firebrand jurist Moore wins GOP primary runoff in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Firebrand jurist Roy Moore won the Alabama Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, defeating an appointed incumbent backed by President Donald Trump and allies of Sen. Mitch McConnell.

In an upset likely to rock the GOP establishment, Moore clinched victory over Sen. Luther Strange to take the GOP nomination for the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in a Dec. 12 special election.

The crowd at Moore's election party broke into loud applause as media outlets called the race. Former White House strategist Steve Bannon took the stage to introduce Moore as supporters waving flags cheered Tuesday night.

"We have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress," Moore told the crowd.

Bannon declared Moore's win a victory for Trump, despite the president's support for Strange. Moore said he supports the president and his agenda.

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'Obamacare' survives; GOP concedes on last-gasp repeal try

WASHINGTON (AP) — "Obamacare" lives on.

Senate Republicans, short of votes, abandoned their latest and possibly final attempt to kill the health care law Tuesday, just ahead of a critical end-of-the-week deadline.

The repeal-and-replace bill's authors promised to try again at a later date, while President Donald Trump railed against "certain so-called Republicans" who opposed the GOP effort. But for now, Trump and fellow Republicans who vowed for seven years to abolish President Barack Obama's law will leave it standing and turn their attention to overhauling the nation's tax code instead.

The GOP's predicament was summed up bluntly by Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a lead author of the legislation: "Through events that are under our control and not under our control, we don't have the votes."

"Am I disappointed? Absolutely," he said after a GOP lunch attended by Vice-President Mike Pence.

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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. 'DEAD AS A DOORNAIL'

That's how GOP Sen. John Kennedy of La. describes his party's latest push to repeal and replace 'Obamacare,' which Republican leaders abandoned, lacking key votes.

2. PUERTO RICO HURRICANE DESTRUCTION GETS TRUMP'S ATTENTION

The president announces plans to visit the U.S. territory and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where storms demolished much of the infrastructure.

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Trump suddenly focuses on Puerto Rico, promises visit, aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Suddenly, just about all President Donald Trump can talk about is Puerto Rico.

After not mentioning the hurricane-devastated island for days, Trump on Tuesday pushed back aggressively and repeatedly against criticism that he had failed to quickly grasp the magnitude of Maria's destruction or give the U.S. commonwealth the top-priority treatment he had bestowed on Texas, Louisiana and Florida after previous storms.

Trump announced that he would visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands next week. He tweeted about Puerto Rico's needs. He talked about Puerto Rico during a meeting on tax cuts. He raised the subject at a Rose Garden news conference with the prime minister of Spain.

And he attended a hurricane briefing. He called a meeting of agency heads tasked with helping Puerto Rico recover, and sent top officials out to the White House driveway to talk to reporters. FEMA Administrator Brock Long delivered specifics: 16 Navy and Coast Guard ships in the waters around Puerto Rico and 10 more on the way.

Throughout, Trump stressed that Puerto Rico's governor had praised the federal response, characterizing Ricardo Rossello as "so thankful of the job we're doing."

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Trump aides told not to use personal phones _ but some do

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House officials are clearly instructed: Don't use your personal phones for official business. But some aides appear to have done it anyway, and it's getting fresh scrutiny along with questions about the use of personal email accounts.

The inquiries into private communication could prove uncomfortable for President Donald Trump, who relentlessly attacked Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email account and server during her time as secretary of state.

Multiple current and former Trump White House officials have used private email accounts and texts from personal phones for private conversations, sometimes using encrypted messaging apps. That's despite clear directives not to use personal devices for administration business and to save the records if they do.

House lawmakers have requested more information about the use of private email addresses and texting or the use of messaging apps on personal phones. They're also asking about the oversight and record-keeping policies of the Trump White House. They acted after word surfaced that White House adviser Jared Kushner set up a private email account after the election to conduct work-related business.

Further, The New York Times recently reported the names of six close Trump advisers, including Kushner, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, who have used private email to discuss White House matters. Bannon and Priebus no longer work at the White House.

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Collapsed Mexico school raises questions about quake codes

MEXICO CITY (AP) — On paper at least, the Mexico City school appeared to be structurally sound and built to withstand a major earthquake. But it collapsed, killing 26 people, most of them children. And now authorities are looking into whether an apartment reportedly built on top of the two-story school was to blame.

Claudia Sheinbaum, the borough president of the southern Mexico City district where the school went down in the 7.1 magnitude quake, told a news conference Tuesday that the school appeared to have its paperwork in order, at least according to documents filed by architects and engineers who supposedly inspected the structure. She said an investigation was being launched to look for any abnormalities not revealed in those documents.

"We can't stop just with the paperwork," Sheinbaum said. "We are going to do a review of the building itself."

Authorities said that the owner of the privately owned Enrique Rebsamen school built an apartment for herself on top of the collapsed wing, which local media said included a Jacuzzi, and were looking into whether the extra weight may have played a role in the collapse.

Sheinbaum said she didn't know if that was true, but said the owner, Mónica García Villegas, had a permit dating back to 1983 to build a school and apartments on the lot, though it was unclear whether she had permission to add a third story to the section of the school that collapsed.

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Ivanka Trump's supply chains in China cloaked in secrecy

SHANGHAI (AP) — It is no secret that the bulk of Ivanka Trump's merchandise comes from China. But just which Chinese companies manufacture and export her handbags, shoes and clothes is more secret than ever, an Associated Press investigation has found.

In the months since she took her White House role, public information about the companies importing Ivanka Trump goods to the U.S. has become harder to find. Information that once routinely appeared in private trade tracking data has vanished, leaving the identities of companies involved in 90 per cent of shipments unknown. Even less is known about her manufacturers. Trump's brand, which is still owned by the first daughter and presidential adviser, declined to disclose the information.

The deepening secrecy means it's unclear who Ivanka Trump's company is doing business with in China, even as she and her husband, Jared Kushner, have emerged as important conduits for top Chinese officials in Washington. The lack of disclosure makes it difficult to understand whether foreign governments could use business ties with her brand to try to influence the White House — and whether her company stands to profit from foreign government subsidies that can destroy American jobs. Such questions are especially pronounced in China, where state-owned and state-subsidized companies dominate large swaths of commercial activity.

"There should be more transparency, but right now we do not have the legal mechanism to enforce transparency unless Congress requests information through a subpoena," said Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, and is part of a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for alleged constitutional violations. "I don't know how much money she's making on this and why it's worth it. I think it's putting our trade policy in a very awkward situation."

An AP review of the records that are available about Ivanka Trump's supply chain found two potential red flags. In one case, a province in eastern China announced the award of export subsidies to a company that shipped thousands of Ivanka Trump handbags between March 2016 and February of this year, Chinese public records show — a possible violation by China of global fair trade rules, trade experts said.

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Death of transgender teen in Missouri surrounded in mystery

HOUSTON, Mo. (AP) — Even as authorities in rural southern Missouri dismiss the possibility that a transgender teenager's death was a hate crime, questions remain about why the quiet 17-year-old was killed in such a ghastly manner.

Authorities identified the burned remains as those of Joseph Matthew Steinfeld Jr. —the birth name of a transgender girl who went by the name Ally Lee Steinfeld. The remains were found last week in the town of Cabool, near the mobile home of one of the alleged killers, 24-year-old Briana Calderas, with whom Steinfeld was living. Some of Steinfeld's bones were in a bag in a chicken coop. Authorities said both eyes were gouged out and Steinfeld had been stabbed in the genitals.

Calderas and two 18-year-olds, Andrew Vrba and Isis Schauer, were charged with first-degree murder and other counts. A fourth suspect is charged with abandonment of a corpse and tampering with evidence. All four are jailed without bond.

Steinfeld had been missing for weeks, and initial news reports referred to her as a male, in part because missing-person posters distributed by the family used Steinfeld's birth name, as did police documents.

Steinfeld's mother, Amber Steinfeld, still refers to her child as Joey, but said the teen identified as female to family and to friends on social media. She said her child was "loving and kind-hearted."

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NFL anthem protests evolve past Kaepernick's original intent

What began more than a year ago with an NFL quarterback protesting police brutality against minorities by kneeling silently during the national anthem before games has grown into a roar with hundreds of players sitting, kneeling, locking arms or remaining in locker rooms — their reasons for demonstrating as varied as their methods.

Yet people rallying to defend players or decry the protests aren't talking about police brutality, or the fact that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is no longer employed by an NFL team. Especially after President Donald Trump weighed in repeatedly to say that players should stand for the anthem or be fired for their defiance.

Before NFL games began Sunday, the discourse had morphed into a debate over the First Amendment, Trump's insults, how much the NFL has been paid by the U.S. government for its displays of patriotism and the overall state of race relations in America. Support and criticism came from fields well beyond the gridiron, including NASCAR, the NBA, MLB, activists, journalists, entertainers and politicians.

Some worry that the expanded reasoning for the protests — fanned by the president's incendiary stance — could dilute the passion and the permanence of its original cause, drawing attention to interactions between police and minorities.

"The issue has morphed beyond that because Mr. Trump has interceded," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said.

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First-time NFL protesters explain how they became woke

Football coaches warn players not to say anything that could wind up on the opposing team's bulletin board.

When he set out to challenge NFL protesters, Donald Trump took the opposite tack. He put up a billboard.

The president essentially called out-of-work quarterback Colin Kaepernick "an SOB" for taking a knee to protest racial injustice during the national anthem.

And any player who followed him?

"Fire 'em!" Trump said.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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