AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST
Warren, Sanders spar over her claim he said woman can’t win
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Elizabeth Warren made a vigorous case for a female president and stood behind her accusation suggesting sexism by progressive rival Bernie Sanders Tuesday night in a tense Democratic debate that raised gender as a key issue in the sprint to Iowa’s presidential caucuses.
Sanders vehemently denied Warren’s accusation, which threatened to split the Democratic Party’s far-left flank — and a longtime liberal alliance — at a critical moment in the 2020 contest.
“Look at the men on this stage. Collectively they have lost 10 elections,” Warren exclaimed “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women.”
An incredulous Sanders responded: “Does anybody in their right mind think a woman can’t be elected president?” he asked. “Of course a woman can win.”
He added: “I don’t know that that’s the major issue of the day.”
Key takeaways from Democratic presidential debate in Iowa
DES MOINES (AP) — Some key takeaways from Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, the final forum before the Iowa caucuses:
CIVILITY AND SUBSTANCE OVER FIGHTING AND FRICTION
After the United States’ killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Democrats were bracing for fights over foreign policy. Instead, a whole lot of substance broke out.
There was a brief skirmish between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who opposed the Iraq War, and former vice-president Joe Biden, who apologized for supporting for it. But most of the opening 30-minute discussion — one-quarter of the time set for the debate — focused on the future.
Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and California businessman Tom Steyer tried to argue that their outside-the-Beltway resumes would be benefits in the Oval Office. “What we are hearing is 20 years of mistakes by the American government in the Middle East,” Steyer said. “It’s time for someone from the outside having a strategic view on what we’re trying to do.”
AP FACT CHECK: Trump distorts data, Dems cut some corners
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rallying in swing-state Wisconsin, President Donald Trump used misleading economic data to claim he’s created a “blue collar boom” while Democrats vying to replace him cut some corners on the facts in their latest presidential debate.
Here’s a look at some statements from both stages, in Milwaukee and Des Moines, Iowa:
TRUMP: “More than 300,000 people under Obama, 300,000 people, left the workforce. Under just three years of my administration, 3.5 million people have joined the workforce.”
THE FACTS: Trump is wrong about Barack Obama’s record.
More than 5 million people joined the U.S. labour force during Obama’s presidency, according to Labor Department figures. These gains reflect the recovery from the Great Recession as well as population growth. But Trump does have reason to celebrate as well. More than 4.8 million people have joined the labour force in just three years of his presidency.
Pelosi sets Wednesday votes to send impeachment to Senate
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. House is set to vote Wednesday to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for a landmark trial on whether the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are grounds for removal.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the next steps after meeting privately with House Democrats at the Capitol, ending her blockade Tuesday a month after they voted to impeach Trump.
It will be only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, a serious moment coming amid the backdrop of a politically divided nation and an election year.
“The President and the Senators will be held accountable,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial.”
The Senate is expected to transform into an impeachment court as early as Thursday. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside over senators, who serve as jurors, to swear an oath to deliver “impartial justice.” The House managers will walk the articles across the Capitol in a dramatic procession Wednesday evening after the midday vote.
Australian wildfire smoke stokes health fears in cities
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Fire alarms have been sounding in high-rise buildings across downtown Sydney and Melbourne as dense smoke from distant wildfires confuse electronic sensors. Modern government office blocks in the Australian capital Canberra have been closed because the air inside is too dangerous for civil servants to breathe.
The sun has glowed an eerie red behind a brown shrouded sky for weeks over Australian metropolitan areas that usually rank high in the world’s most livable cities indexes.
It’s an unprecedented dilemma for Australians accustomed to blue skies and sunny days that has raised fears for the long-term health consequences if prolonged exposure to choking smoke becomes the new summer norm. Similar concerns over smoke are emerging in other regions of the globe being impacted by more fires tied to climate change, including the Western U.S.
“I’m going to give birth any day now, literally, and I’m going to have a newborn baby that I’m going to protect from all this,” said Emma Mauch, a pregnant Canberra mother.
Her friend, Sonia Connor, described the struggle of keeping her own energetic 3-year-old daughter contained inside their Canberra house with windows and doors sealed by tape as the outside temperature exceeded 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s a choice between air flow in stifling heat or keeping potentially toxic smoke out.
Ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn seeks to withdraw guilty plea
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn filed court papers Tuesday to withdraw his guilty plea, saying federal prosecutors had acted in “bad faith” and broken their end of the bargain when they sought prison time for him.
The request came one week after the Justice Department changed its position on Flynn’s punishment by recommending he serve up to six months behind bars for lying to the FBI during its investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Prosecutors had earlier said Flynn was entitled to avoid prison time because of his extensive co-operation, but the relationship with the retired Army lieutenant general grew increasingly contentious in recent months, particularly after he hired a new set of lawyers. Those attorneys have raised repeated misconduct allegations against the government — which a judge has since rejected — and prosecutors have responded by calling into question whether Flynn truly accepts guilt.
It was not immediately clear how the judge handling the case, Emmet Sullivan, would respond to the motion or whether he would actually permit Flynn to withdraw the plea — an extraordinary step that would presumably enable the government to bring additional charges if merited.
In the court document, filed two weeks before Flynn’s scheduled sentencing date, defence lawyers said the Justice Department was attempting to “rewrite history” by withdrawing its recommendation that he receive probation and by suggesting he had not been forthcoming or co-operative.
Jet dumps fuel that lands on schoolkids near Los Angeles
CUDAHY, Calif. (AP) — An airliner with engine trouble dumped jet fuel that fell as a smelly mist on dozens of schoolchildren while the plane made an emergency return to Los Angeles International Airport, officials said.
The fuel, described by fire officials as a vapour, caused minor skin and lung irritation to 56 children and adults but nobody was taken to the hospital and the only decontamination required was soap and water, officials said.
Delta Air Lines Flight 89 to Shanghai reported an engine problem only minutes after takeoff.
“Delta 89, heavy, we have engine compressor stalls on the right engine,” the pilot reported to air traffic control, according to a recording of the radio conversation.
A stall, which can be caused by damage to a turbine, either from a malfunction or sometimes by a bird striking the engine, reduces the engine thrust. The pilot was asked whether he wanted to keep the aircraft over the ocean to dump fuel but declined, although it appears he may have changed his mind later about whether the plane could safely land weighing as much as it did.
Questions of racism linger as Harry, Meghan step back
LONDON (AP) — When accomplished, glamorous American actress Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in 2018, she was hailed as a breath of fresh air for Britain’s fusty royal family. That honeymoon didn’t last.
Now the couple wants independence, saying the pressure of life as full-time royals is unbearable. And a debate is raging: Did racism drive Meghan away?
When Prince Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne, began dating the “Suits” actress — daughter of a white father and African American mother — the media called it a sign that Britain had entered a “post-racial” era in which skin colour and background no longer mattered, even to the royal family.
U.K. Labour Party lawmaker Clive Lewis, who like Meghan has biracial heritage, says the royal rift shows that Britain still has a problem with “structural racism.”
“We can see it with Meghan Markle and the way that she’s been treated in the media, we know that this is a reality of the 21st century, still,” Lewis told Sky News. “After 400 years of racism you can’t just overturn it overnight.”
Student fatally shot at Texas high school; suspect arrested
BELLAIRE, Texas (AP) — A 16-year-old student was shot to death Tuesday at a Texas high school, and a suspect was arrested hours later, officials said.
Grenita Lathan, interim superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, confirmed the shooting victim at Bellaire High School had died. She gave no other information and took no questions.
A suspect and another person police said was connected to the case were arrested about 3 1/2 hours after the shooting Tuesday night, according to statements from the school district and Bellaire police. They said no other information would be released for now, including further details about where the shooting occurred in the school complex, whether the suspect was a student or what led to the arrest.
The district announced classes had been cancelled Wednesday, after Latham originally said they were going on as scheduled.
Emergency crews were seen performing CPR as the student was carried on a stretcher to an ambulance outside the school, KPRC-TV reported. There were conflicting media reports about whether the shooting happened inside or outside the school.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora fired in sign-stealing scandal
BOSTON (AP) — Alex Cora has already been identified as a ringleader in an illegal system of sign stealing when he was with the Houston Astros.
The Red Sox didn’t wait to see what punishment Major League Baseball might give him for possibly bringing a similar scheme with him to Boston.
Cora was fired by the team he led to the 2018 World Series title on Tuesday night, one day after baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was “an active participant” in the Astros’ cheating when he was a bench coach in Houston.
Manfred mentioned Cora by name 11 times in a nine-page report, saying he “originated and executed” the scheme in which Houston used a centre field camera to decode catchers’ signals to pitchers, then banged on a trash can to relay the signs to batters so they would know what type of pitch was coming.
The Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, making that announcement an hour after Manfred suspended them for the 2020 season for their roles in the cheating scheme. Cora met Tuesday with Boston management and they issued a release saying they had “mutually agreed to part ways.”
The Associated Press
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