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

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

February 26, 2018 - 8:05 PM

Supreme Court declines to decide fate of 'Dreamers' just yet

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration's highly unusual bid to bypass a federal appeals court and get the justices to intervene in the fate of a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The announcement means the case affecting "Dreamers" will have to work its way through the lower courts before any Supreme Court ruling is possible. The case could also become moot if Congress takes action in the meantime. Right now, however, efforts to address the issue in Congress have hit a stalemate.

The Supreme Court's decision for now to stay out of the case on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, wasn't surprising. It's highly unusual for the Supreme Court to hear a case before a lower appeals court has considered it.

But DACA supporters hailed the decision as a significant — if only temporary — win. Trump said the case would now be heard by an appeals court and "we'll see what happens from there."

"You know, we tried to get it moved quickly because we'd like to help DACA. I think everybody in this room wants to help with DACA," he said to visiting governors. "But the Supreme Court just ruled that it has to go through the normal channels."

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Trump says he's willing to buck NRA; Congress not so sure

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared Monday he's willing to take on the National Rifle Association over gun legislation, but Republicans who control Congress aren't so sure. They prefer to consider only modest changes to firearms limits in response to the mass shooting at a Florida high school.

Congress returned to work Monday without following Trump's lead on any of the major initiatives he has tossed into the debate since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Despite public calls for stricter gun laws, Republican leaders have largely kept quiet since the shooting, which left 17 dead and ushered in another phase in the gun debate, prompted in large part by the activism of the young survivors. Some students visited with lawmakers Monday.

Over the weekend, Trump spent time talking to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and the White House is inviting lawmakers from both parties for meetings this week. But Trump's ideas to arm many teachers, lift the minimum age for purchasing assault rifles to 21 and impose stricter background checks were falling flat.

"You guys, half of you are so afraid of the NRA," the president said Monday at a meeting with the nation's governors. "There's nothing to be afraid of. And you know what? If they're not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while. That's OK."

Instead, Senate Republicans are hoping to consider more modest legislation from Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The "Fix NICS" bill, similar to one approved last year in the House, would penalize federal agencies that don't properly report required records used to determine whether someone can legally buy a gun.

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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. 'I REALLY BELIEVE I'D RUN IN THERE EVEN IF I DIDN'T HAVE A WEAPON'

President Trump criticized a sheriff's deputy who did not enter the building where the Fla. school shooting took place, and said he would have rushed in unarmed.

2. WHY FLORIDA DEPUTY DIDN'T ENTER HIGH SCHOOL DURING SHOOTING

An attorney for the now-resigned deputy says he believed the gunfire was coming from outside the building and followed his training, initiating a "code red" lockdown.

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Case against Florida shooting suspect returns to court

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The criminal case against the gunman accused in the Florida high school shooting returns to court Tuesday with prosecutors seeking hair samples, fingerprints, DNA and photographs of the suspect.

Nikolas Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of murder, will not appear in court because he waived his right to attend the hearing. He is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail.

In a separate court matter, Cruz's lawyers are seeking to disqualify a judge from presiding over the case. The defence says in court papers that Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer is biased in favour of prosecutors, threatening Cruz's right to a fair trial.

Cruz, who is 19, signed an affidavit in a barely legible printed scrawl that resembled the writing of a young child.

As the case moves through the courts, it has fueled a debate over gun control in the halls of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, hours from where the shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

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Georgia GOP leader threatens Delta over cutting its NRA ties

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's lieutenant governor on Monday threatened to prevent Delta Air Lines from getting a lucrative tax cut after the company ended its discount program with the National Rifle Association, in the latest fallout from a deadly school shooting in Florida.

Delta is part of a growing chorus of businesses cutting ties with the NRA after the Valentine's Day shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead. But now the airline is coming under attack, with Georgia's lieutenant governor threatening a sales tax exemption making its way through the legislature.

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, president of the state Senate and a leading candidate to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal, tweeted that he would use his position to sink the proposed sales tax exemption on jet fuel.

"I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA," Cagle tweeted. "Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back."

More than a dozen companies, including Metlife, Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Best Western, Wyndham and United Airlines have ended NRA partnerships since the school shooting. Police say the suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, gunned down students with an AR-15 assault-style rifle.

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Still no cease-fire in Syrian enclave; Russia orders a pause

BEIRUT (AP) — As a U.N. cease-fire failed to take hold in Syria, Russia on Monday ordered a daily "humanitarian pause" to allow civilians to evacuate an embattled rebel-held enclave near Damascus, while airstrikes continued and Syrian ground forces fought to push into the besieged area from the west.

But civilians caught in the violence mocked Russian President Vladimir Putin's order of a limited, five-hour daily truce.

"It is like legitimizing the strikes on civilians," said activist Firas Abdullah, a resident of Douma, a town in the region where at least 13 members of a family were killed Monday when their home collapsed after an airstrike.

"They will be so kind to grant us a mere five hours when they will not bomb us. Then the rest of the day, they will bomb us as usual. It is like a permission to kill," Abdullah said.

A weekend resolution approved by the U.N. Security Council for a 30-day cease-fire across Syria failed to stop the carnage in the eastern Ghouta region that has killed more than 500 people since last week.

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Bill Cosby's daughter Ensa, 44, dies in Massachusetts

BOSTON (AP) — Bill Cosby's 44-year-old daughter Ensa Cosby died in Massachusetts from kidney disease, a spokesman for the comedian said Monday.

Spokesman Andrew Wyatt did not immediately offer other details about her death on Friday.

"Please keep the Cosby family in your prayers and give them peace at this time," he said.

Bill Cosby lost another of his five children in 1997 when his 27-year-old son, Ennis, a graduate student at Columbia University, was shot to death while changing a flat tire near a freeway off ramp in Los Angeles. A 22-year-old man was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Bill Cosby, 80, owns a home in the western Massachusetts town of Shelburne Falls.

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Ivanka Trump's dual roles as senior adviser, first daughter

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ivanka Trump expects to be treated seriously as a senior White House adviser. But when faced with uncomfortable questions about her father's treatment of women, she'd prefer to be viewed as just a daughter.

President Donald Trump's elder daughter drew fresh scrutiny Monday for an NBC interview in which she argued that a query to her about the women accusing the president of inappropriate behaviour was "pretty inappropriate."

The comment highlighted her complicated roles as both first daughter and advocate for women and families, serving in an administration led by a president accused of inappropriate behaviour by more than a dozen women.

Asked if she believed the accusations against her father, Ivanka Trump said: "I think it's a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he's affirmatively stated that there's no truth to it. I don't think that's a question you would ask many other daughters."

Trump has denied the allegations, and his daughter said she stood by him.

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump twists words from Fox News, off on GDP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Judging from a recent tweet, President Donald Trump can't be counted on to accurately reflect what he's seeing on TV. His grasp of economic numbers is not always solid, either.

On the weekend, Trump botched a remark he heard on Fox News when he tweeted about it. On Monday, he misreported the pace of economic growth, though on this matter he was in the ballpark.

Meanwhile, his spokeswoman stated that Trump campaign associates pleaded guilty to criminal behaviour "that took place long before they were involved with the president," a misrepresentation of the record.

Here's a look:

TRUMP, citing Fox News as he assailed Rep. Adam Schiff, lead author of a Democratic memo defending the FBI and Justice Department in the Russia investigation: "'Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts' @FoxNews So, what else is new. He is a total phoney!"

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Court: US anti-discrimination law covers sexual orientation

NEW YORK (AP) — Ruling in the case of a gay skydiving instructor, a federal appeals court in New York on Monday became the second one in the country to declare that U.S. anti-discrimination law protects employees from being fired over their sexual orientation.

The decision could set the stage for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the question once and for all.

In a 10-3 ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that while it and other courts around the U.S. previously found that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act didn't cover sexual orientation, "legal doctrine evolves."

"We now conclude that sexual orientation discrimination is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination," Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann said, writing for the majority.

The decision involved Donald Zarda, who was fired in 2010 from a skydiving job in Central Islip, New York, that required him to strap himself tightly to clients so they could jump in tandem from an airplane. To put one female student at ease about the physical contact, he said, he told her not to worry — he was gay. The school fired Zarda after the woman's boyfriend called to complain.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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