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

November 13, 2017 - 8:04 PM

New sex assault allegation hits Moore; he calls it false

WASHINGTON (AP) — A second woman emerged Monday to accuse Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her as a teenager in the late 1970s, this time in a locked car, further roiling the Alabama Republican's candidacy for an open Senate seat. Moore strongly denied it, even as his own party's leaders intensified their efforts to push him out of the race.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a remarkably personal swipe at his party's candidate for a Senate seat the GOP cannot afford to lose. "I believe the women," he said, marking an intensified effort by leaders to ditch Moore before a Dec. 12 special election that has swung from an assured GOP victory to one that Democrats could conceivably swipe.

Moore abruptly called a news conference in Gallant, Alabama, after a tearful Beverly Young Nelson's detailed the new allegations to reporters in New York.

"I can tell you without hesitation this is absolutely false. I never did what she said I did. I don't even know the woman," Moore said.

He signalled he has no intention of ending his candidacy, calling the latest charges a "political manoeuvr" and launching a fundraising appeal to "God-fearing conservatives" to counter his abandonment by Washington Republicans.

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Trump Jr. messaged with WikiLeaks during 2016 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's oldest son on Monday released a series of private Twitter exchanges between himself and WikiLeaks during and after the 2016 election, including pleas from the website to publicize its leaks.

Donald Trump Jr.'s release of the messages on Twitter cames hours after The Atlantic first reported them. In the exchanges — some of them around the time that the website was releasing the stolen emails from Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman — WikiLeaks praises his father's positive comments about WikiLeaks and asks Trump Jr. to release his father's tax returns to the site.

The revelations are sure to increase calls in Congress to have Trump Jr. testify publicly as part of several committee probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. And they add a new element to the investigations that have been probing for months whether Trump's campaign colluded in any way with the Russian government.

In an intelligence assessment released last January, the NSA, CIA and FBI concluded that Russian military intelligence provided hacked information from the DNC and "senior Democratic officials" to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has denied that Russia was the source of emails it released, including those from Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The private messages released by Trump Jr. show him responding to the WikiLeaks account three times, at one point agreeing to "ask around" about a political action committee WikiLeaks had mentioned. He also asked the site about a rumour about an upcoming leak. The messages began in September 2016 and ran through July.

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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. FRESH ACCUSATIONS TURN UP HEAT ON ALA. SENATE CANDIDATE

Top Republicans pressure Roy Moore to leave the race after a woman's emotional account alleging Moore sexually assaulted her years ago when she was 16.

2. DEATH TOLL CLIMBS PAST 400 IN IRAN-IRAQ QUAKE

Rescuers dig through wrecked buildings for survivors, and the military sets up field hospitals in the border region for thousands of injured.

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Sessions open to idea of Clinton Foundation special counsel

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is leaving open the possibility that a special counsel could be appointed to look into Clinton Foundation dealings and an Obama-era uranium deal, the Justice Department said Monday in responding to concerns from Republican lawmakers.

In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, which is holding an oversight hearing Tuesday, the Justice Department said Sessions had directed senior federal prosecutors to "evaluate certain issues" raised by Republican lawmakers. President Donald Trump has also repeatedly called for investigations of Democrats.

The prosecutors will report to Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and recommend whether any new investigations should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require additional resources and whether it might be necessary to appoint a special counsel to oversee a probe, according to a letter sent to Rep. Robert Goodlatte of Virginia, the Judiciary Committee's Republican chairman.

The letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd did not say what specific steps might be taken by the Justice Department to address the lawmakers' concerns, or whether any of the matters Republicans have seized on might already be under investigation by federal authority.

Any appointment of a new special counsel, particularly in response to calls from members of Congress or from Trump himself, is likely to lead to Democratic complaints about an undue political influence on a department that is supposed to function outside of any partisan sway or demand.

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Harvey's 'Biblical' rainfall is getting more likely

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chances of a hurricane flooding parts of Texas, like Harvey did, have soared sixfold in just 25 years because of global warming and will likely triple once again before the end of the century, a new study says.

Study author Kerry Emanuel, a meteorology professor and hurricane expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that what was once an extremely rare event — 20 inches of rain over a large area of Texas — could soon be almost common.

From 1981 to 2000, the probability of 20 inches of rain happening somewhere over a large chunk of Texas was 1 in 100 or even less, Emanuel said. Now it's 6 in 100 and by 2081, those odds will be 18 in 100, he said.

"The changes in probabilities are because of global warming," Emanuel said.

The study was released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Analysis says Senate bill would hike taxes for 13.8 million

WASHINGTON (AP) — Promoted as needed relief for the middle class, the Senate Republican tax overhaul actually would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households, a nonpartisan analysis showed Monday.

The assessment by Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation emerged as the Senate's tax-writing committee began wading through the measure, working toward the first major revamp of the tax system in some 30 years.

Barging into the carefully calibrated work that House and Senate Republicans have done, President Donald Trump called for a steeper tax cut for wealthy Americans and pressed GOP leaders to add a contentious health care change to the already complex mix.

Trump's latest tweet injected a dose of uncertainty into the process as the Republicans try to deliver on his top legislative priority. He commended GOP leaders for getting the tax legislation closer to passage in recent weeks and then said, "Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts?"

That puts him at odds with the House legislation that leaves the top rate at 39.6 per cent and the Senate bill as written, with the top rate at 38.5 per cent.

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Half of US adults have high blood pressure in new guidelines

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — New guidelines lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition, which now plagues nearly half of U.S. adults.

High pressure, which for decades has been a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, drops to 130 over 80 in advice announced Monday by a dozen medical groups.

The change means an additional 14 per cent of U.S. adults have the problem, but only an additional 2 per cent will need medication right away; the rest should try healthier lifestyles, which get much stronger emphasis in the new advice. Poor diets, lack of exercise and other bad habits cause 90 per cent of high blood pressure.

"I have no doubt there will be controversy. I'm sure there will be people saying 'We have a hard enough time getting to 140,'" said Dr. Paul Whelton, a Tulane University physician who led the guidelines panel.

But the risk for heart disease, stroke and other problems drops as blood pressure improves, and the new advice "is more honest" about how many people have a problem, he said.

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Quake kills 430 in Iranian border region rebuilt after war

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Rescuers dug with their bare hands Monday through the debris of buildings felled by an earthquake that killed more than 430 people in the border region of Iran and Iraq, with nearly all the casualties occurring in an area rebuilt after their ruinous 1980s war.

The magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck Sunday at 9:48 p.m. Iran time, just as people were going to bed. The worst damage appeared to be in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide the two countries.

Residents fled without time to grab their possessions as apartment complexes collapsed into rubble. Outside walls of some buildings were sheared off, power and water lines were severed, and telephone service was disrupted. Residents dug frantically through wrecked buildings for survivors as they wailed. Firefighters from Tehran joined other rescuers in the desperate search, using dogs to inspect the rubble.

The hospital in Sarpol-e-Zahab was heavily damaged, and the army set up field hospitals, although many of the injured were moved to other cities, including Tehran.

The quake also damaged an army garrison and buildings in the border city and killed an unspecified number of soldiers, according to reports.

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Trump buddies up to Duterte, doesn't highlight human rights

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Winding down his visit to Asia, President Donald Trump repeatedly praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, called him by his first name, shared a joke with him about the media and even complimented Manila's weather. What he did not do Monday was what many of his predecessors made a point of doing while abroad: publicly highlight human rights abuses.

Duterte has overseen a bloody drug war that has featured extrajudicial killings. But during brief remarks to reporters, Trump said he and Duterte have "had a great relationship," and he avoided questions about whether he'd raise human rights concerns with the Filipino leader during a private meeting on the sidelines of a summit of Southeast Asian leaders.

The White House later said the two leaders discussed the Islamic State group, illegal drugs and trade during the 40-minute meeting. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said human rights came up "briefly" in the context of the Philippines' fight against illegal drugs, but she did not say if Trump was critical of Duterte's program.

That appeared to conflict with the Filipino version of the meeting. Harry Roque, a spokesman for Duterte, said: "There was no mention of human rights. There was no mention of extralegal killings. There was only a rather lengthy discussion of the Philippine war on drugs with President Duterte doing most of the explaining."

Despite all that, they later issued a joint statement saying that "the two sides underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential, and agreed to continue mainstreaming the human rights agenda in their national programs."

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Arrivederci Italy: Azzurri lose World Cup playoff to Sweden

MILAN (AP) — Players from both teams slumped to the ground, the Swedes in exhausted ecstasy, the Italians in losers' agony.

On a starry night in Milan, four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Sweden advanced for the first time since 2006.

Despite three quarters of possession, Italy was stymied by a goalless draw in the second leg of their playoff on Monday and Sweden prevailed 1-0 on aggregate.

"It's a black moment for our game," Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi said. "Unfortunately there will be a lot of time to analyze it. The only thing I can say is that we showed few ideas and not much in the way of tactics."

The Sweden players ran over to celebrate with the travelling fans, a sea of joyful yellow at San Siro. The Italians looked on in shock and disbelief or put their head in their hands as though it were too painful to watch.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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