Saudi king, Turkish president discuss journalist’s disappearance

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have spoken by telephone over the disappearance and alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

State-run news agencies in both Saudi Arabia and Turkey acknowledged Sunday night’s call.

Turkey said Erdogan “stressed forming a joint working group to probe the case.”

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, said King Salman thanked Erdogan “for welcoming the kingdom’s proposal” for forming the working group.

The king also said Turkey and Saudi Arabia enjoy close relations and “that no one will get to undermine the strength of this relationship.”

Khashoggi disappeared Oct. 2 while visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey fears Saudi officials killed and dismembered The Washington Post columnist. Saudi Arabia calls the allegations “baseless,” but has offered no explanation for Khashoggi’s whereabouts.

Khashoggi went to the Saudi Consulate seeking documents so he could be married to his Continue reading “Saudi king, Turkish president discuss journalist’s disappearance”

Saudi Arabia warns against threats over missing journalist

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia warned Sunday it will respond to any “threats” against it as its stock market plunged following President Donald Trump’s warning of “severe punishment” over the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump made a point of visiting the kingdom on his first overseas trip as president and has touted arms sales to Saudi Arabia. But both the White House and the kingdom are under mounting pressure as concern grows over the fate of the veteran journalist, who hasn’t been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

“The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether through economic sanctions, political pressure or repeating false accusations,” the kingdom’s statement said. “The kingdom also affirms that if it is (targeted by) any action, it will respond with greater action.”

The statement came after Continue reading “Saudi Arabia warns against threats over missing journalist”

Feds: Chinese spy tried to steal U.S. aviation trade secrets

A Chinese spy who allegedly attempted to steal trade secrets from several American aviation and aerospace companies was charged Wednesday and extradited to the U.S.

Yanjun Xu, an operative of the Chinese Ministry of State Security, is accused of recruiting experts who worked at aviation companies and paying them stipends to travel to China in order to obtain trade secrets, the Justice Department said.

From 2013 until he was arrested in April, Xu would recruit employees from major aerospace companies, including GE Aviation, and convince them to travel to China under the guise that they would give a presentation at a university, prosecutors said. Court papers document how Xu and other intelligence operatives planned to obtain “highly sensitive information” from the experts.

John Demurs, the assistant attorney general in charge of national security, said the case was a “significant economic espionage matter” and was the latest proof that China Continue reading “Feds: Chinese spy tried to steal U.S. aviation trade secrets”

Brazil’s far-right candidate surprises with big lead

SAO PAULO — A far-right former army captain who expresses nostalgia for Brazil’s military dictatorship took a strong lead in its presidential election Sunday, rallying voters to his promises to rid Latin America’s largest nation of rampant corruption, crime and moral rot.

With 92.5 percent of returns in, congressman Jair Bolsonaro was leading polls with 47 percent of the votes. If he manages more than 50 percent, he will win the presidency outright. If he doesn’t, he heads to a runoff with the second-place candidate.

He is trailed by Fernando Haddad, the leftist stand-in for jailed ex-President Luiz Inacio da Silva, who was barred from running. Haddad has 28 percent of the vote.

Polls predicted Bolsonaro would win the first round of voting but face a runoff. Bolsonaro, however, has far outperformed expectations, blazing past competitors with more financing, institutional backing of parties and free air time on television.

Continue reading “Brazil’s far-right candidate surprises with big lead”

Pompeo cites progress made on North Korea trip

SEOUL, South Korea — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made unspecified progress Sunday toward an agreement for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, though there was no immediate indication whether Pompeo had managed to arrange a much-anticipated second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.

Trump, tweeting from Washington, cited progress on agreements he made with Kim at their June meeting and said, “I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim again, in the near future.”

Arriving in Seoul after several hours in Pyongyang on his fourth visit to North Korea, Pompeo tweeted that he had a “good trip” and that he and Kim “continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore summit.” Trump and Kim held a historic summit there in June that resulted in a vague agreement for the North to denuclearize.

The top Continue reading “Pompeo cites progress made on North Korea trip”

Jury convicts Chicago officer of 2nd-degree murder

A jury has convicted white Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke was charged with first degree-murder in the October 2014 killing, a charge that requires a finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable. The judge told jurors the second-degree charge was also available, requiring them to find Van Dyke believed his life was in danger but that the belief was unreasonable.

The jury announced the verdict Friday. It’s the first time in half a century that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder for an on-duty death.

McDonald was carrying a knife when Van Dyke fired 16 shots into the 17-year-old as he walked away from police.

Second-degree murder usually carries a sentence of less than 20 years.

Judge blocks Trump administration from ending protections for some immigrants

SAN FRANCISCO — A judge in San Francisco has blocked the Trump administration from ending protections that allowed immigrants from four countries to live and work legally in the United States.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco on Wednesday granted a request for a preliminary injunction against the administration’s decision.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to end temporary protected status for people from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. The status is granted to countries ravaged by natural disasters or war. It lets citizens of those countries remain in the U.S. until the situation improves back home.

The lawsuit alleges the administration’s decision was motivated by racism and cites Trump’s vulgar reference to African countries during a meeting about immigration at the White House in January.

Judge: Congressional Democrats can sue Trump over emoluments

A federal district judge in Washington says a group of nearly 200 Democratic senators and representatives has legal standing to sue President Donald Trump to prove he violated the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments provision banning the acceptance of gifts from foreign interests.

The ruling by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan is the second decision by a federal court advancing such constitutional lawsuits against the president. A federal judge in Maryland ruled in July that a similar lawsuit against Trump by attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia could proceed, but it only covered Trump’s earnings from his hotel in Washington.

To allow the lawsuit to proceed, Sullivan said he would “accept as true the allegations that the President has accepted prohibited foreign emoluments without seeking the consent of Congress.”

Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years for 2004 sex assault

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — His Hollywood career and good-guy image in ruins, an 81-year-old Bill Cosby was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, becoming the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison.

The punishment all but completed the dizzying, late-in-life fall for the comedian, former TV star and breaker of racial barriers.

“It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said. He quoted from victim Andrea Constand’s own statement to the court, in which she said Cosby took her “beautiful, young spirit and crushed it.”

Cosby declined the opportunity to address the court before the sentence came down.

The punishment came at the end of a two-day hearing at which the judge declared Cosby a “sexually violent predator” — a modern-day Continue reading “Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years for 2004 sex assault”

Actor James Woods bashes Twitter for booting him

MINNEAPOLIS — Actor James Woods has been locked out of his Twitter account over a tweet he sent out months ago that was found to be in violation of Twitter’s rules.

The tweet was posted July 20 and includes a hoax meme that said it came from Democrats and encouraged men not to vote in the midterm elections. Woods got an email from Twitter on Thursday saying the tweet “has the potential to be misleading in a way that could impact an election.” The email says Woods can use his account again if he deletes the tweet.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Woods said this means he’ll be allowed back on Twitter only if he decides to do what Twitter says. He says he won’t do that, and he won’t delete the tweet.

“Free speech is free speech — it’s not Jack Dorsey’s version Continue reading “Actor James Woods bashes Twitter for booting him”

Iran blames U.S. after attack on military parade

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that an unnamed U.S.-allied country in the Persian Gulf was behind an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people and wounded nearly 70.

Rouhani did not identify those behind Saturday’s attack, which was claimed by an Arab separatist group. He could have been referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain — close U.S. military allies that view Iran as a regional menace over its support for militant groups across the Middle East.

“All of those small mercenary countries that we see in this region are backed by America. It is Americans who instigate them and provide them with necessary means to commit these crimes,” Rouhani said.

Saturday’s attack, in which militants disguised as soldiers opened fire on an annual Iranian military parade in Ahvaz, in the oil-rich southwest, was the deadliest attack in Continue reading “Iran blames U.S. after attack on military parade”

Wilmington cut off as flooding fears rise

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Catastrophic flooding from Florence spread across the Carolinas on Sunday, with roads to Wilmington cut off by the epic deluge and muddy river water swamping entire neighborhoods miles inland. “The risk to life is rising with the angry waters,” Gov. Roy Cooper declared as the storm’s death toll climbed to 15.

The storm continued to crawl westward, dumping more than 30 inches of rain in spots since Friday, and fears of historic flooding grew. Tens of thousands were ordered evacuated from communities along the state’s steadily rising rivers — with the Cape Fear, Little River, Lumber, Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers all projected to burst their banks.

In Wilmington, with roads leading in and out of the city underwater and streams still swelling upward, residents waited for hours outside stores and restaurants for basic necessities like water. Police guarded the door of one store, and only Continue reading “Wilmington cut off as flooding fears rise”

Netanyahu urged to recall U.S. ambassador over scandal

JERUSALEM — An Israeli opposition lawmaker on Sunday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to dismiss his ambassador to the United States for failing to report sexual assault allegations against a top Netanyahu aide, ballooning an already embarrassing scandal for the Israeli leader.

Karin Elharrar of the centrist Yesh Atid party said Ron Dermer should be recalled from Washington for not reporting the warnings he received about David Keyes, Netanyahu’s spokesman to foreign media. She also lashed out at Netanyahu himself for staying mum on an issue that has engulfed his close associates.

“His silence is thundering. I would expect from the prime minister a clear condemnation, if not at least a mention that the allegations were being looked into,” Elharrar told The Associated Press. “Who if not the prime minister should be an example on this matter? It’s time that this issue of sexual harassment be at the top Continue reading “Netanyahu urged to recall U.S. ambassador over scandal”

Family arrivals surge at U.S.-Mexico border in August

A surge in people coming to the U.S. illegally as families has contributed to an increase of illegal crossings from Mexico.

The number of family arrivals reached nearly 16,000 in August, a sharp increase from July. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan says the figure was one of the highest on record. Families accounted for about one-third of all the people stopped at the border.

McAleenan blames what he calls “legal loopholes,” including a court order that generally prohibits holding children more than 20 days. He calls the increase in family arrivals “a direct response to gaps in the legal framework.”

Overall, people arrested or stopped at the border totaled nearly 47,000 in August, up 17 percent from July and up 52 percent from August 2017.

Family arrivals surge at U.S.-Mexico border in August

A surge in people coming to the U.S. illegally as families has contributed to an increase of illegal crossings from Mexico.

The number of family arrivals reached nearly 16,000 in August, a sharp increase from July. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan says the figure was one of the highest on record. Families accounted for about one-third of all the people stopped at the border.

McAleenan blames what he calls “legal loopholes,” including a court order that generally prohibits holding children more than 20 days. He calls the increase in family arrivals “a direct response to gaps in the legal framework.”

Overall, people arrested or stopped at the border totaled nearly 47,000 in August, up 17 percent from July and up 52 percent from August 2017.

New sexual misconduct allegations emerge against CBS boss

Six women are making new sexual misconduct allegations against CBS chief Leslie Moonves, whose reign as one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood appeared to be nearing an end on Sunday.

The New Yorker magazine reported the women’s new accusations, which included Moonves forcing them to perform oral sex and retaliating when advances were turned away. Moonves acknowledged relations with three of the women but said they were consensual, and that he had never used his position to hurt the careers of women.

Six other women accused Moonves of misconduct in another New Yorker article published last month. Even before the new allegations came to light on Sunday, CBS’ board was reportedly discussing terms of Moonves’ exit. A spokesman for the board did not immediately return requests for comment.

Moonves joined CBS as head of entertainment in 1995, and has been CEO of CBS Corp. since 2006, leading the Continue reading “New sexual misconduct allegations emerge against CBS boss”

North Korea goes big as it celebrates 70th birthday

PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea held a major military parade and revived its iconic mass games to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Sunday, but in keeping with leader Kim Jong Un’s new policies the emphasis was firmly on building up the economy, not on nuclear weapons.

The North rolled out some of its latest tanks and marched its best-trained goose-stepping units in the parade but held back its most advanced missiles and devoted nearly half of the event to civilian efforts to build the domestic economy.

It also brought the mass games back after a five-year hiatus. The games are a grand spectacle that features nearly 20,000 people flipping placards in unison to create huge mosaics as thousands more perform gymnastics or dance in formation on the competition area of Pyongyang’s 150,000-seat May Day Stadium.

The strong emphasis on the economy underscores the strategy Kim has pursued since January Continue reading “North Korea goes big as it celebrates 70th birthday”

Private service for McCain before burial

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — John McCain’s final journey from his Arizona ranch is ending on a grassy hill at the U.S. Naval Academy within view of the Severn River and earshot of midshipmen present and future, and alongside a lifelong friend.

A private memorial service at the academy’s chapel followed by a procession to the burial site was to mark the farewell Sunday to a man who lived a very public life. Invited along with family and friends were members of McCain’s Class of 1958, military leaders and Brigade of Midshipmen.

One scheduled speaker at the service, Sen. Lindsey Graham, said he would tell the audience that “nobody loved a soldier more than John McCain, that I bear witness to his commitment to have their back, travel where they go, never let them be forgotten. The public may be tired of this war called the war on terrorism, but John Continue reading “Private service for McCain before burial”

U.S. ends funding of UN agency for Palestinian refugees

The United States is ending its decades of funding for the U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees, the State Department announced Friday, a week after slashing bilateral U.S. aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

The U.S. supplies nearly 30 percent of the total budget of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, and had been demanding reforms in the way it is run. The department said in a written statement that the United States “will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.” The decision cuts nearly $300 million of planned support.

It comes as President Donald Trump and his Middle East pointmen, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, prepare for the rollout of a much-vaunted but as yet unclear peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians, and it could intensify Palestinian suspicions that Washington is using the humanitarian funding Continue reading “U.S. ends funding of UN agency for Palestinian refugees”

Balderson retains GOP hold on open House seat in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A two-term state senator who was backed by President Donald Trump but who also promoted his ties to Trump critic Gov. John Kasich won a previously deadlocked congressional special election in Ohio, retaining a coveted open U.S. House seat long held by Republicans.

State Sen. Troy Balderson, of Zanesville, was certified Friday as the voters’ pick over Democrat Danny O’Connor, the Franklin County recorder, to complete the unexpired term of former long-time U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, who retired in January. After final absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Balderson defeated O’Connor by 1,680 votes — a mere 0.8-percent margin in a district Trump won by 11 points two years ago.

The result fell 520 votes outside the window to trigger an automatic recount.

Balderson, of Zanesville, and O’Connor, who’s from Columbus, must face off again for the full two-year term representing the meandering central Continue reading “Balderson retains GOP hold on open House seat in Ohio”