Published: 4:04 am, Sun. Jan. 20th, 2019Updated: 7:04 pm
At 30-day mark, shutdown logjam remains over border funding
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thirty days into the partial government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans appeared no closer to ending the impasse Sunday than when it began, with President Donald Trump lashing out at his opponents after they dismissed a plan he’d billed as a compromise.
Trump had offered the previous day to temporarily extend protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children and those fleeing disaster zones in exchange for $5.7 billion for his border wall. But Democrats said the three-year proposal didn’t go nearly far enough.
On Sunday, Trump branded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “radical” and said she was acting “irrationally.” The president also tried to fend off criticism from the right, as conservatives accused him of embracing “amnesty” for immigrants in the country illegally.
“No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer,” Trump tweeted, noting that he’d offered temporary, three-year extensions — not permanent relief. But he added: “Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else.”
The criticism from both sides underscored Trump’s boxed in-position as he tries to win at least some Democratic buy-in without alienating his base.
Ice glazes over swath of US as wind chills fall below zero
BOSTON (AP) — Bitter cold is setting in after a major winter storm blanketed a wide swath of the country in snow, sleet and rain this weekend, creating dangerously icy conditions that promise to complicate cleanup efforts and make travel challenging on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Some of the coldest temperatures felt so far this season started to set in across the Midwest and Northeast Sunday and are expected to plunge further overnight.
Wind chills will bring temperatures into teens in the New York City area and down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in upstate New York, the National Weather Service predicted.
In New England, they’ll fall to as low as 20 F (29 C) below zero around Boston and as low as 35 F (37 C) below zero in parts of Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, the service said.
Temperatures across the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic will drop 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below average, the service said.
After 2016 ruling, battles over juvenile lifer cases persist
Locked up for life at 15, Norman Brown remains defined by the crime that put him behind bars.
Twenty-seven years ago, Brown joined a neighbor more than twice his age to rob a jewelry shop in Chesterfield, Missouri, and the man shot the owner to death. The shooter was executed. But state officials, bound by a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, pledged to give Brown an opportunity to get out — then rejected parole in a process a federal judge ruled recently must be overhauled.
Three years after the Supreme Court gave inmates like Brown a chance at freedom, the justice system is gaining speed in revisiting scores of cases. About 400 offenders originally sentenced to life without parole as juveniles have been released nationwide, and hundreds of others have been resentenced to shorter terms or made eligible for release by law.
But most remain behind bars as prosecutors and judges wrestle with difficult cases. Tensions have mounted and lawsuits have been filed in states like Missouri, while in 21 others, life-without-parole sentences are prohibited for those 17 and younger. About a third of those bans have been approved since 2016, according to the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.
“The national trend is certainly one where states are moving away from these sentences, whether by legislation or through the courts,” said Jody Kent Lavy, executive director of the group. But “there are still some outliers that in many ways are refusing to comply with the court’s mandate.”
Native American says he tried to ease tensions at Mall
DETROIT (AP) — A Native American who was seen in online video being taunted outside the Lincoln Memorial said Sunday he felt compelled to get between two groups with his ceremonial drum to defuse a confrontation.
Nathan Phillips said in an interview with The Associated Press that he was trying to keep peace between some Kentucky high school students and a black religious group that was also on the National Mall on Friday. The students were participating in the March for Life, which drew thousands of anti-abortion protesters, and Phillips was attending the Indigenous Peoples March happening the same day.
“Something caused me to put myself between (them) — it was black and white,” said Phillips, who lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan. “What I saw was my country being torn apart. I couldn’t stand by and let that happen.”
Videos show a youth standing very close to Phillips and staring at him as he sang and played the drum. Other students — some in “Make America Great Again” hats and sweatshirts — were chanting, laughing and jeering.
Other videos also showed members of the religious group, who appear to be affiliated with the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, yelling disparaging and profane insults at the students, who taunt them in return. Video also shows the Native Americans being insulted by the small religious group as well.
In rare move, Israel confirms attacking Iran forces in Syria
JERUSALEM (AP) — In an extraordinary statement, the Israeli military confirmed early Monday that it attacked Iranian military targets in Syria, hours after carrying out a rare daylight air raid near the Damascus International Airport.
The statement was issued hours after Israeli missile defenses intercepted an incoming missile over the Golan Heights in the wake of the airport raid.
“We have started striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory,” the military statement said. “We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.”
Until now Israel has largely refrained from public admissions of its covert military operations in neighboring Syria, in order to avoid large-scale involvement in the eight-year civil war.
The Syrian military said Israel carried out intensive airstrikes with successive waves of guided missiles shortly after 1 a.m., but added that Syrian air defenses destroyed most of the missiles before they reached their targets.
Ex-deputy to Argentine bishop says Vatican knew of misdeeds
ORAN, Argentina (AP) — The Vatican received information in 2015 and 2017 that an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis had taken naked selfies, exhibited “obscene” behavior and had been accused of misconduct with seminarians, his former vicar general told The Associated Press, undermining Vatican claims that allegations of sexual abuse were only made a few months ago.
Francis accepted Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta’s resignation in August 2017, after priests in the remote northern Argentine diocese of Oran complained about his authoritarian rule and a former vicar, seminary rector and another prelate provided reports to the Vatican alleging abuses of power, inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment of adult seminarians, said the former vicar, the Rev. Juan Jose Manzano.
The scandal over Zanchetta, 54, is the latest to implicate Francis as he and the Catholic hierarchy as a whole face an unprecedented crisis of confidence over their mishandling of cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors and misconduct with adults. Francis has summoned church leaders to a summit next month to chart the course forward for the universal church, but his own actions in individual cases are increasingly in the spotlight.
The pope’s decision to allow Zanchetta to resign quietly, and then promote him to a new No. 2 position in one of the Vatican’s most sensitive offices, has raised questions again about whether Francis turned a blind eye to the misconduct of his allies or dismissed allegations against them as ideological attacks.
Manzano, Zanchetta’s onetime vicar general, or top deputy, said he was one of the diocesan officials who raised the alarm about his boss in 2015 and sent the digital selfies to the Vatican.
Giuliani: ‘So what’ if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the possibility that Trump and former personal attorney Michael Cohen might have discussed Cohen’s congressional testimony.
But, he added, “so what” if he did?
Giuliani told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he did not know if Trump had discussed with Cohen a 2017 congressional interview at which Cohen has admitted lying about a Trump Tower real estate project in Moscow. He also acknowledged in a separate interview with NBC News that conversations about that project stretched throughout 2016, including possibly up until October or November of that year.
The question arose in light of a BuzzFeed News report from last week that said Trump had instructed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen relayed that to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators. Mueller’s office took the unusual step of issuing a statement disputing the story. BuzzFeed said it stands by its reporting.
Giuliani said in interviews with CNN and NBC that Trump never directed Cohen to lie to lawmakers. But on CNN he acknowledged the possibility that Trump and Cohen might have discussed Cohen’s testimony, saying that while he had no knowledge of such a conversation, he wasn’t ruling it out and that it’d be “perfectly normal” anyway.
Facing populist assault, global elites regroup in Davos
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — As the world’s financial and political elites convene here in the Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum, their vision of ever-closer commercial and political ties is under attack — and the economic outlook is darkening.
Britain’s political system has been thrown into chaos as the country negotiates a messy divorce from the European Union.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States is imposing trade sanctions on friend and foe alike, and the government is paralyzed by a partial shutdown over immigration policy that forced Trump and a high-level U.S. delegation to cancel the trip to Davos.
A year after getting a standing ovation from the elites at Davos, French President Emmanuel Macron is sinking in the polls as he contends with “yellow vest” protesters who have taken to the streets to call for higher wages and fairer pensions. Nationalist political movements are gaining strength across Europe.
And the economic backdrop is worrying: experts are downgrading their forecasts for global growth this year amid rising interest rates and tensions over trade.
Zuerlein’s 57-yard field goal sends Rams to Super Bowl
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A big comeback. A blown call. And, finally, a booming kick that sent the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl.
After rallying from an early 13-0 deficit, the Rams stunned the New Orleans Saints with Greg Zuerlein’s 57-yard field goal in overtime for a 26-23 victory in the NFC championship game Sunday — an outcome that might not have been possible without an egregious mistake by the officials in the closing minutes of regulation.
Los Angeles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tommylee Lewis well before the pass arrived inside the 5, forcing the Saints to settle for Wil Lutz’s 31-yard field goal that made it 23-20 with 1:41 left in regulation.
“Came to the sideline, looked at the football gods and was like, ‘Thank you,'” Robey-Coleman said. “I got away with one tonight.”
After the no-call, Jared Goff had enough time to lead the Rams down the field for Zuerlein’s tying field goal, a 48-yarder with 15 seconds remaining.
Super Bowl berths on the line in conference title games
The Los Angeles Rams are back inside the stadium where they lost for the first time this season, looking for retribution and a Super Bowl berth as they face the New Orleans Saints in the NFC championship game.
The Superdome is coming alive for the last time this football season as predominantly Saints fans arrive for just the second NFC title game to be held at the site of seven Super Bowls.
The previous time the Saints hosted a game this late in a season, they pulled out a hair-raising overtime triumph over Minnesota en route to their first Super Bowl appearance — and championship.
That was the 2009 season. Some nine seasons later, coach Sean Payton and 40-year-old, record-setting quarterback Drew Brees are back with a largely different cast, one victory away from the team’s second trip to the NFL’s biggest event.
When these teams met in Week 9, running back C.J. Anderson had not yet joined Todd Gurley in the Rams’ backfield and Los Angeles cornerback Aqib Talib was not healthy enough to play. Their availability puts the Rams in a stronger position than they were in back on Nov. 4, when they fell to New Orleans 45-35.