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National Politics

    The Latest on President Donald Trump's speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation (all times EDT): 7:40 p.m. President Donald Trump is using his appearance in front of a conservative think tank to argue the U.S. should celebrate and preserve its history, 'not tear it down.' Trump is pointing to a movement to take down Confederate status as well as other symbols of the country's difficult past. He says, 'Now they're even trying' to take down statues of Christopher Columbus. He asks, 'What's next?' Trump also says young Americans should be taught to honor the flag and national anthem and proudly recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He tells the group, 'You understand that our glorious heritage is the foundation of everything we hope to achieve.' __ 7:25 p.m. President Donald Trump is taking his tax plan sales pitch to the conservative Heritage Foundation. Trump is expected to tell the group's President's Club on Tuesday evening that his plan will be a boon to the economy, resulting in a $4,000 pay raise for the average American. That claim has been met with skepticism from tax experts and Democratic lawmakers who say the administration's math is flawed. Trump is also expected to talk about other issues important to the group, including the Constitution, his appointment of conservative judges, border security and his 'peace through strength' foreign policy approach. That's according to a senior administration official who previewed the speech earlier Tuesday on condition that he not be named.
  • President Donald Trump is taking his tax plan sales pitch to the conservative Heritage Foundation. Trump is expected to tell the group's President's Club on Tuesday evening that his plan will be a boon to the economy, resulting in a $4,000 pay raise for the average American. That claim has been met with skepticism from tax experts and Democratic lawmakers who say the administration's math is flawed. Trump is also expected to talk about other issues important to the group, including the Constitution, his appointment of conservative judges, border security and his 'peace through strength' foreign policy approach. That's according to a senior administration official who previewed the speech earlier Tuesday on condition that he not be named.
  • President Donald Trump's nominee to be the CIA's independent watchdog told Congress on Tuesday that he's never read the Senate's so-called torture report, an exhaustive, classified report of the agency's treatment of terror suspects after 9/11. Christopher Sharpley, who has been deputy inspector general at the CIA since July 2012, told the Senate intelligence committee that the classified disc containing the 7,000-page report was lost for a time and later found, but that he never took time to read the full document. The Senate intelligence committee spent years investigating the CIA's detention and harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists captured by the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack. The techniques authorized by the Bush administration included waterboarding. Interrogations were conducted in clandestine prisons around the world that were not in the jurisdiction of U.S. courts or the military justice system. Democrats scolded Sharpley during his confirmation hearing, saying he should have read and learned from the report because the inspector general's job involves oversight of covert CIA activities. Committee members also quizzed him about his commitment to protecting whistleblowers who report waste, fraud and abuse at the agency and how they need to be protected from retaliation. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., read from a February document on the official letterhead of the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community that describes flaws in the way that retaliation cases are investigated. The document was disclosed by the Project on Government Oversight, which reported on Monday that Sharpley is named in three open whistleblower retaliation cases. Sharpley defended his record, saying he has never retaliated against anyone in the inspector general's office or at any other federal agency. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, commended him for being a productive inspector general, saying his office has conducted more than 100 audits and inspection reports and issued more than 340 recommendations in the past year to help improve the agency's efficiency and effectiveness. She also cited his work on countering insider threats from employees who have disclosed 'devastating amounts' of classified information. Sharpley said his office has issued more than two dozen reports and made 64 recommendations addressing insider threats. The CIA has 'done a lot on insider threats, but a lot more work needs to be done,' he said. Democrats on the committee spent most of their time during the confirmation hearing questioning him about the torture report. 'The point of distributing it to the departments was in the hope that they would read it — not look at it as some poison document — and learn from it,' said Feinstein, who was chairman of the committee when it was released. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., noted that the inspector's job involves overseeing covert activities. 'It seems to me that it's awfully hard to learn the potential lessons of that report, if it wasn't consumed and read and processed in your office,' Heinrich said. Heinrich acknowledged that Sharpley did read summaries of the report, but said there were chapters in the much longer, classified version that dealt specifically with the operations of the inspector general's office, which could be instructive to the person leading that office. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said he would oppose his confirmation over the issue. The committee is expected to vote next week. Sharpley said the CIA received the report in December 2014 and it was uploaded to the inspector general's classified system. Shortly thereafter, the CIA was told to delete it from the agency's system because of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act court case. The CIA was instructed to put the report on a disc and place it in a classified safe. Several months later, Sharpley said he asked for the disc, but nobody could find it. He initiated an investigation and an information technology employee said it had been shredded. Another several months later, a retiring employee sifting through his materials found the disc in a classified safe. Sharpley said the employee who said he had shredded it was re-interviewed. This time, the individual, who had by then left the CIA, said he didn't actually remember shredding that specific disc, but that he had a stack of media on his desk and thought he had shredded it. 'It's embarrassing and I have apologized,' Sharpley said. He said this occurred around the same time that the courts ruled that the report was a congressional document and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., had requested copies that had been distributed to intelligence and other executive branch agencies be returned to the committee. Democrats criticized Burr for that request, accusing him of trying to bury the document. 'I made an independent judgment to return the disc,' Sharpley said, adding that his decision was not a reflection on the quality of the report or its importance to history. 'I did not have an opportunity to read the report,' Sharpley said, although he acknowledged that he could have read it before he returned it to the committee, but chose not to do so.
  • Lawyers for President Donald Trump are asking a federal judge to toss a civil lawsuit accusing the president of violating the Constitution because his businesses accept money from foreign governments. In a court hearing in New York on Wednesday, Justice Department lawyers were expected to argue that the ban on foreign money is meant only to address gifts or emoluments to the president in his official capacity. They have said Trump's business arrangements are a political question, not a legal one, and should be addressed by Congress, not the courts. The case brings the prospect of penetrating some of the obscurity surrounding Trump's complicated financial empire — including a web of hundreds of corporate entities around the world — and resolving questions about the international sources of Trump's money. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left-leaning public policy group, filed the lawsuit in January in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The judge, George B. Daniels, was not expected to rule immediately on the question after Wednesday's hearing. 'We need to know if our president is financially dependent on any foreign governments,' said Richard Painter, who is vice-chair of CREW and formerly the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the agency looked forward to Wednesday's hearing. One significant aspect of the case, if the judge allows it to proceed, could involve the production of Trump's closely-held tax returns, which may show foreign business income and financial relationships. The case centers on the 'Emoluments Clause,' which states that no U.S. official can without Congress' consent 'accept any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.' Part of Wednesday's arguments will focus on whether the plaintiffs have legal 'standing,' or sufficient connection or harm, to sue the president. Those plaintiffs include the organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a restaurant owner in New York City and an event booker for two Washington hotels. Justice Department lawyers representing Trump have said the case should be dismissed on those grounds. Two other emoluments-related lawsuits have also been filed against Trump by members of Congress and the attorney generals for Maryland and the District of Columbia. Trump could choose to have Congress review any presents or emoluments he receives, but given the ongoing Russia probe it is unlikely that even members of a Republican-controlled Congress would sign off without a review of the president's tax returns. ___ Follow Tami Abdollah on Twitter at https://twitter.com/latams
  • The chairman of the influential Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday he'll hold up President Donald Trump's nominees for key Defense Department posts until the administration delivers details about its new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said his committee needs the particulars in order to properly outfit the U.S. armed forces with training and equipment. 'If we don't get the information we need, we can't do that,' he told reporters. McCain said the Trump administration acts as though Congress isn't a co-equal branch of government, 'and that they don't have to respond to what the Constitution says.' Trump in August outlined in broad strokes his plan for Afghanistan, declaring that American troops would 'fight to win' by attacking enemies, 'crushing' al-Qaida and preventing terrorist attacks against Americans. As part of the plan, the Pentagon is boosting troop numbers by about 3,500, augmenting the roughly 11,000 Americans currently stationed there. What remains unclear to the committee, according to McCain, is how this modest increase in troop strength can turn the tide in Afghanistan when that goal couldn't be achieved with tens of thousands of U.S. forces. Trump also said the U.S. would shift from a 'time-based' approach, instead linking its assistance to results and to cooperation from the beleaguered Afghan government, Pakistan and others. McCain said he wants to know what those conditions are. He also is seeking answers for how and when Trump would accomplish his goal of a political settlement in Afghanistan that includes elements of the Taliban. McCain said he has great respect for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and doesn't 'want any differences between us.' But he said the flow of information between his committee and the Pentagon on important military issues was better during the Obama administration, when Ash Carter served as the top civilian official at the Defense Department. 'We may not have agreed, but there was a lot of communications,' McCain said of Carter. A Senate website shows 17 Defense Department nominations before the committee that could be affected by the impasse. Among them are Mark Esper, the nominee for Army secretary; Joseph Kernan, the nominee for undersecretary of defense for intelligence; and Robert Wilkie, the nominee for undersecretary of personnel and readiness. 'I have no idea, nor do I care,' McCain said when he was asked how many nominees are being delayed. McCain is making exceptions, however. The Senate late last month confirmed Gen. Joseph Dunford for a second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after McCain's committee approved the nomination. And on Tuesday the Senate confirmed David Trachtenberg to be principal deputy undersecretary of defense. ___ Follow Richard Lardner on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rplardner
  • Democratic attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia filed suit Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Education over its decision to block an Obama-era rule designed to protect students from being defrauded by for-profit colleges. The Gainful Employment rule was supposed to take effect this year, but Education Secretary Betsy DeVos froze it until a new rule could be crafted. The rule was meant to ensure that students received an education that would help them land a job with a high enough income to pay off their student loan debt. The lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court in the nation's capital, comes as DeVos faces criticism from student advocates and Democratic lawmakers for delaying action on tens of thousands of claims for loan forgiveness from former students at defunct for-profit colleges. DeVos' move to block the gainful employment rule is part of an ongoing effort to roll back some of the policies of the Obama administration on issues ranging from student loans to the rights of transgender students and the way colleges investigate sexual assault on campus. DeVos says those rules were ineffective, confusing and were an encroachment on state and local rights. 'The Department of Education is again eliminating crucial protections for student borrowers,' said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Other states represented in the lawsuit were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. 'Students seek higher education degrees to get better, higher paying jobs,' Frosh said in a statement. 'When predatory institutions fail to deliver the education and training they promise, students are saddled with burdensome debt, and their employment prospects are not improved. Education Department Press Secretary Liz Hill dismissed the lawsuit as a political show and said DeVos was working to fix a broken system. 'This is just the latest in a string of frivolous lawsuits filed by Democratic attorneys general who are only seeking to score quick political points,' Hill said in a statement. 'While this administration, and Secretary DeVos in particular, continue work to replace this broken rule with one that actually protects students, these legal stunts do nothing more than divert time and resources away from that effort. ' The action follows a similar lawsuit filed by 19 attorneys general in July over the blocking of student lending protection, the Borrower Defense rule, which DeVos also blocked. Under that rule, students would have their loans forgiven if their college misrepresented the quality of its programs. ___ This story has been corrected to show 17 states and the District of Columbia are filing suit.
  • Sen. Thad Cochran has returned to Washington after weeks in Mississippi, where he was being treated for urological problems. In a statement Tuesday, Cochran says he is pleased to be back in Washington, where he will continue to work on spending bills and vote on the budget later this week. The 79-year-old senator says he appreciates 'all the support and kind words I received while at home.' The statement says the senator will continue to be treated for urological issues and remains under medical supervision, and that could affect his work schedule. On Monday, Cochran's office said he was remaining in Mississippi on the advice of his doctors. Cochran has been away from Washington since the week of Sept. 18.
  • Testimony from defense witnesses in the bribery trial of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez on Tuesday included a curious story involving the former governor of Florida and a zinger by a prosecutor that left jurors chuckling but earned an admonition from the judge. Earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence weighed in on the case, telling a radio host it would be wrong for Bob Menendez to stay in office if he's convicted. The Republican Pence said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show Tuesday that having a convicted felon in the Senate would be 'altogether inappropriate and wrong.' Pence said it would be a decision for the Senate and he wants to respect its processes. If Menendez were to resign or be voted out by a two-thirds majority in the Senate before Gov. Chris Christie leaves office in January, the Republican likely would choose a fellow GOP member to finish his term. Menendez is charged with agreeing to pressure government officials on behalf of a wealthy friend in exchange for luxury hotel stays and free flights on the friend's private jet, as well as more than $600,000 in donations to Democratic campaign groups supporting Menendez. The friend, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, also is on trial. The indictment charges him with bribing Menendez in exchange for help with an $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute, a port security contract in the Dominican Republic and visas for three reputed girlfriends. On Tuesday, jurors heard testimony from Melgen's wife and his lawyer. Flor Melgen recalled how then-Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist showed up at her Palm Beach County home unannounced in October 2010, when he was running for Senate as an independent. Crist apparently was hoping Menendez, at the time the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was there that night, she testified. He wasn't, but Crist wound up dining and staying overnight. He reimbursed the Melgens $100 for the dinner. 'So at least one politician knows how to pay your husband back,' Justice Department attorney Monique Abrishami said. Defense attorneys immediately objected, and U.S. District Judge William Walls cautioned jurors to disregard attorneys' 'throwaway questions.' According to the indictment, Melgen paid for Menendez's roundtrip airfare from New Jersey to Florida around that time. Defense attorneys contend it was a politically related trip for Menendez, and shouldn't be considered part of an alleged bribery scheme. Melgen's lawyer testified he discussed Medicare policy issues in a meeting with Menendez in 2012, prior to Menendez's meetings with health officials including then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The indictment charges those meetings were meant to advocate for Melgen. Sebelius and others testified that Menendez didn't mention Melgen's name during the meetings. On Monday, Walls denied a request from both defendants to dismiss the charges on the grounds that they didn't meet a narrower standard for official bribery set by a 2016 Supreme Court ruling. The trial is expected to continue through the end of the month.
  • A federal judge in Hawaii blocked most of President Donald Trump's latest travel ban Tuesday, just hours before it was set to take effect, saying the revised order 'suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.' It was the third set of travel restrictions issued by the president to be thwarted, in whole or in part, by the courts. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson issued the ruling after the ban on a set of mostly Muslim countries was challenged by the state of Hawaii, which warned that the restrictions would separate families and undermine the recruiting of diverse college students. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the ruling 'dangerously flawed' and said it 'undercuts the president's efforts to keep the American people safe.' The Justice Department said it will quickly appeal. At issue was a ban, announced in September and set to go into effect early Wednesday, on travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with some Venezuelan government officials and their families. The Trump administration said the ban was based on an assessment of each country's security situation and willingness to share information with the U.S. Watson, appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama, said the new restrictions ignore a federal appeals court ruling against Trump's previous ban. The latest version 'plainly discriminates based on nationality in the manner that the 9th Circuit has found antithetical to ... the founding principles of this nation,' Watson wrote. The judge's ruling applies only to the six Muslim-majority countries on the list. It does not affect the restrictions against North Korea or Venezuela, because Hawaii did not ask for that. 'This is the third time Hawaii has gone to court to stop President Trump from issuing a travel ban that discriminates against people based on their nation of origin or religion,' Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement. 'Today is another victory for the rule of law.' Hawaii argued the updated ban was a continuation of Trump's campaign call for a ban on Muslims, despite the addition of two countries without a Muslim majority. Watson noted that Hawaii had argued Trump did not back down from that call, listing in the ruling a series of June tweets 'in which (Trump) complained about how the Justice Department had submitted a 'watered down, politically correct version' to the Supreme Court.' Other courts that weighed the travel ban have cited Trump's comments about banning Muslims, including the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia and a federal judge in Maryland. Watson also referred to a Trump campaign statement in his previous ruling. His Tuesday ruling said the new ban, like its predecessor, fails to show that nationality alone makes a person a greater security risk to the U.S. 'The categorical restrictions on entire populations of men, women and children, based upon nationality, are a poor fit for the issues regarding the sharing of 'public-safety and terrorism-related information' that the president identifies,' Watson wrote. He said the ban is inconsistent in the way some countries are included or left out. For example, Iraq failed to meet the security benchmark but was omitted from the ban. Somalia met the information-sharing benchmark but was included. Watson found fault with what sorts of visitors are barred. For instance, all tourists and business travelers from Libya are excluded from the U.S., but student visitors were allowed. The judge said he would set an expedited hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order blocking the ban should be extended. It comes as other courts weigh challenges to the ban. In Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are seeking to block the visa and entry restrictions. Washington state, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, New York and Maryland are challenging the order in front of the same federal judge in Seattle who struck down Trump's initial ban in January. That ban — aimed mostly at Muslim-majority countries — led to chaos and confusion at airports nationwide and triggered several lawsuits, including one from Hawaii. When Trump revised the ban, Hawaii challenged that version, too, and Watson agreed it discriminated on the basis of nationality and religion. A subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed the administration to partially reinstate restrictions against Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and against all refugees. Hawaii then successfully challenged the government's definition of which relatives of people already living in the U.S. would be allowed into the country, and Watson ordered the list expanded.
  • A federal judge in Hawaii on Tuesday blocked a third version of President Donald Trump's travel ban. >> Read more trending news The ban was scheduled to go into effect at midnight and targeted eight nations, six of which have populations that are majority Muslim. The state of Hawaii, the Muslim Association of Hawaii and others sought a temporary restraining order to stop the travel ban from going into effect, Politico reported.

News

  • The organ transplant of a 2-year-old boy who was born without a kidney will likely be stalled for months. The reason? His father’s latest arrest. Anthony Dickerson, 26, is no stranger to the criminal justice system. He has been in and out of jail on misdemeanor theft charges and a first-degree forgery charge since 2011, according to Gwinnett County jail records. Just this month, he was released on a $2,600 bond on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of attempted felonies. But Dickerson promised that his son would be the one thing he did right in his life, the child’s mother, Carmellia Burgess, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So when he found out he was a match to donate his kidney to Anthony Jr., he jumped at the chance to help. The family was “hysterical” when they found out the day of the planned surgery Oct. 3 that Emory University Hospital had changed the plan. “They’re making this about dad,” Burgess said. “It’s not about dad. It’s about our son.” In a letter The AJC obtained from Burgess, a hospital official said the surgery would be pushed back until Dickerson could provide evidence he has complied with his parole officer for three months. “We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the hospital representative said in the letter. Emory officials refused to answer The AJC’s questions about the decision or its policies, and Gwinnett law enforcement agencies have not responded to requests for comment. Janet Christenbury, an Emory spokeswoman, said in a statement the hospital is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients.  “Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors,” Christenbury said. “Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about our patients.” Burgess said news of the hospital’s decision caught her by surprise because Emory had earlier been supportive of the dad being the donor. The hospital even requested Dickerson’s temporary release from jail, according to a letter from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program to the Gwinnett County jail where Dickerson was being held. “If Mr. Dickerson could be escorted to Emory for blood work and a pre-operative appointment tomorrow, September 29, we will be able to continue with the scheduled surgery,” an Emory official said in the letter dated Sept. 28. Even though jail records show Dickerson was released Oct. 2, the child’s surgery has not been rescheduled for this year. Burgess created a web petition to urge the hospital to allow the surgery sooner. It has garnered more than 18,400 signatures, but Burgess said she doubts the petition will make a difference. A GoFundMe page also was set up with a $1,000 goal. “I’m just taking it day by day,” she said. “That’s all we can do.” In other news:
  • British police are investigating three new allegations of sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein, all made by the same woman. In another blow to the Hollywood titan after he was ejected from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, France's president said Sunday he was working to rescind Weinstein's prestigious Legion of Honor award. In the new British allegations, London's Metropolitan Police force said Sunday that the woman reported being assaulted in London in 2010, 2011 and 2015. The force said officers from its Child Abuse and Sexual Offenses Command are investigating. The woman's name has not been made public. The force also did not name Weinstein, in keeping with its policy of not identifying suspects who have not been charged. But it said the allegations involve a man against whom another accusation was made Wednesday. That alleged assault — reported to have taken place in west London during the late 1980s — also is being investigated. British actress Lysette Anthony says she reported to police on Wednesday that Weinstein raped her in her west London home in the late 1980s. Anthony, 54, who appears on the British soap opera 'Hollyoaks,' told the Sunday Times newspaper that Weinstein raped her in the late 1980s after showing up at her London home. She said she was left feeling 'disgusted and embarrassed' after the attack. 'It was pathetic, revolting,' she was quoted as saying in a Thursday interview. 'I remember lying in the bath later and crying.' Dozens of women have made allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the movie mogul in recent days, some dating back decades. Weinstein denies non-consensual sexual activity. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took the almost unprecedented step Saturday of revoking Weinstein's membership. It said it did so 'to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.' Weinstein, who backed many British movies including 'Shakespeare in Love' and 'The King's Speech,' also has been suspended by the British film academy. The fallout from the multiplying accusations against Weinstein also reverberated in France on Sunday. French President Emmanuel Macron said he had 'started the procedures' to revoke Weinstein's Legion of Honor award. Rescinding the honor is rare, although it also happened to another American: disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Weinstein was given the prestigious French award in 2012 by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy after the French film 'The Artist' won multiple Oscars. Weinstein's company produced the film, and he predicted in an interview with The Associated Press at the time that it would augur a new 'golden age' of French cinema. French actresses are among those who have accused Weinstein of sexual wrongdoing, notably during his multiple appearances at the Cannes Film Festival. Macron said he wants to speed up procedures for investigating and prosecuting sexual harassment in France to encourage more women to come forward. ___ Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.
  • The Latest on the explosion in Somalia's capital (all times local): 7:30 a.m. Qatar's foreign minister says his country's diplomatic mission in Somalia was hit by the massive truck bombing in Mogadishu. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Twitter early Monday morning: 'The attack on (hashtag)Qatar diplomatic mission in Mogadishu will not deter our support for (hashtag)Somalia's democracy, security and stability.' He did not elaborate. It was unclear if any Qataris were hurt in the blast. Officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Somalia has found itself torn by the boycott by four Arab nations of Qatar. Saudi Arabia is the Somali government's biggest benefactor, while the United Arab Emirates has trained the country's military and launched a high-profile aid appeal this year. Somalia has meanwhile allowed Qatari aircraft to increasingly fly through its airspace as Arab nations have closed theirs off. A Somali state in September broke with Somalia's central government in Mogadishu, saying it backed the boycotting nations. ___ Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ___ 12:45 a.m. Somalia's information minister Abdirahman Osman says the death toll from Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu has risen to 276, with about 300 people injured. It is the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. The toll is expected to rise. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not yet commented. ___ 12:40 a.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is 'sickened' by the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. Guterres in a tweet Sunday night urged 'unity in the face of terrorism.' Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 231 people. Another 275 are hurt. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not yet commented. Officials fear the death toll will rise. ___ 10:05 p.m. The United States is condemning 'in the strongest terms' the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. The State Department statement expresses condolences to victims and wishes a quick recovery for the injured. Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 231 people. Another 275 are hurt. The U.S. calls the attack 'senseless and cowardly' and says it will stand with Somalia in its fight against extremism. ___ 6:35 p.m. Qatar says its embassy was 'severely damaged' in the deadly truck bombing in Somalia's capital. A foreign ministry statement Sunday says the embassy's charge d'affaires was 'slightly injured in the explosion but he is now in a good health, and the rest of staff are fine.' Saturday's blast killed at least 231 people. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. ___ 5:50 p.m. The United Nations special envoy to Somalia calls the deadly truck bombing in the capital 'revolting' and says an unprecedented number of civilians have been killed. A statement from Michael Keating says: 'I am shocked and appalled by the number of lives that were lost in the bombings and the scale of destruction they caused.' Saturday's blast struck a densely populated neighborhood of Mogadishu. The death toll has risen to 231. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. Keating says the U.N. and African Union are supporting the Somali government's response with 'logistical support, medical supplies and expertise.' ___ 5:45 p.m. The U.S. Africa Command says U.S. forces have not been asked to provide aid following Saturday's deadly attack in Somalia's capital. A U.S. Africa Command spokesman tells The Associated Press that first responders and local enforcement would handle the response and 'the U.S. would offer assistance if and when a request was made.' A Somali senator says the death toll from the massive truck bomb blast in Mogadishu has risen to 231, with 275 people injured. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. ___ 5:35 p.m. Angry protesters have taken to the streets in Somalia's capital a day after a massive truck bomb killed at least 231 people. The protesters who gathered at the scene of the blast are chanting against the attack, the deadliest ever in the Horn of Africa nation. The government has blamed the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group for what it calls a 'national disaster.' Al-Shabab has not commented but often targets Mogadishu with bombings. ___ 5:20 p.m. A senator says the death toll from a massive truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has risen to 231. Abshir Abdi Ahmed says 275 others were injured. He cites doctors at hospitals he has visited in Mogadishu. Saturday's blast is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Many of the bodies in hospital mortuaries are yet to be identified. ___ 3:05 p.m. Local journalists say one freelance journalist was killed in Saturday's massive bombing in Somalia's capital and several were injured. Voice of America says one of its reporters, Abdulkaidr Mohamed Abdulle, is among the injured. Police and hospital sources say the death toll from the truck bomb in Mogadishu has risen to 189 in what is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. — Abdi Guled in Mogadishu. ___ 2:35 p.m. The death toll from a massive explosion in Somalia's capital has risen to 189 with over 200 others injured, police and hospital sources say, making it the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Doctors are struggling to assist hundreds of horrifically wounded victims, with many burnt beyond recognition. Somalia's government has blamed Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu on the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. — Abdi Guled in Mogadishu. ___ 1:25 p.m. The United States is joining the condemnation of Saturday's massive truck bombing in Somalia's capital that left scores dead. A statement by the U.S. mission to Somalia says that 'such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.' The U.S. military this year has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, which is based in Somalia and often targets Mogadishu. ___ 1:20 p.m. The International Committee of the Red Cross says four volunteers with the Somali Red Crescent Society are among the dead after a huge truck bombing in Somalia's capital. A statement Sunday says 'this figure may rise as there are a number of volunteers still missing.' Security and medical sources say at least 53 people are dead after what Mogadishu residents call the largest explosion they've ever witnessed. Officials have pleaded for blood donations. More than 60 people are injured. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. ___ 10:45 a.m. Security and medical sources say the death toll from Saturday's truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has risen to 53 as hospitals struggle to cope with the high number of casualties. More than 60 others are injured. Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein says many victims died at hospitals from their wounds. Somalia's government has yet to release the exact death toll from an explosion many called the most powerful they had ever witnessed in Mogadishu. Ambulance sirens still echo across the city as bewildered families wander in the rubble of buildings. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood for the wounded victims. The al-Shabab extremist group often targets high-profile areas in the capital with bombings.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation (all times EDT): 7:40 p.m. President Donald Trump is using his appearance in front of a conservative think tank to argue the U.S. should celebrate and preserve its history, 'not tear it down.' Trump is pointing to a movement to take down Confederate status as well as other symbols of the country's difficult past. He says, 'Now they're even trying' to take down statues of Christopher Columbus. He asks, 'What's next?' Trump also says young Americans should be taught to honor the flag and national anthem and proudly recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He tells the group, 'You understand that our glorious heritage is the foundation of everything we hope to achieve.' __ 7:25 p.m. President Donald Trump is taking his tax plan sales pitch to the conservative Heritage Foundation. Trump is expected to tell the group's President's Club on Tuesday evening that his plan will be a boon to the economy, resulting in a $4,000 pay raise for the average American. That claim has been met with skepticism from tax experts and Democratic lawmakers who say the administration's math is flawed. Trump is also expected to talk about other issues important to the group, including the Constitution, his appointment of conservative judges, border security and his 'peace through strength' foreign policy approach. That's according to a senior administration official who previewed the speech earlier Tuesday on condition that he not be named.
  • A 19-year-old man from Kerrville, Texas, who is a relative of the boy and was visiting family in Lynnwood, Washington, has been booked into the Snohomish County Jail for first-degree murder of 6-year-old Dayvid Pakko. >> Read more trending news A police statement alleges the 19-year-old admitted to filling a bathtub with water with the intention of drowning Dayvid, then called the boy to the bathroom, picked him up and placed him face-down in the water, and held his head underneath for approximately 30 seconds before Dayvid became still. The statement from police then alleges the 19-year-old left the boy face down in the water for approximately six minutes before he wrapped the boy's body in a blanket and placed him in a cardboard box, which he used to dispose of the body in the nearest garbage dumpster.  'It's a tragic ending to a long search operation,' said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton. Authorities said the body was found about 2 a.m. Tuesday in a dumpster at the Bristol Square Apartment complex on 44th Avenue West. The body was found by officers with the Violent Offenders Task Force. In cases of missing children, the officers, who represent several law enforcement agencies, are deployed to check on registered sex offenders in the area. That's when they found the child's body. Detectives are working on getting a search warrant and are processing the crime scene, where they're expected to be working for several hours.  Once a search warrant is obtained, detectives will go through the apartment building and dumpster for evidence. The boy was reported missing about 5 p.m. Monday. Crews, including 100 volunteers, searched the area of 44th Avenue West between 156th Street and State Route 99, just outside the Lynnwood city limits. According to the Sheriff’s Office and relatives, Dayvid stayed home sick from school Monday.  The boy lives with his mother, who was at work when he disappeared. He was last seen about 2:30 p.m. The Sheriff's Office said Dayvid was under adult supervision while he was at home, but did not say who he was with. The Snohomish County medical examiner will determine the boy's cause of death.
  • Northern California homeowners allege in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. failed to adequately protect its power lines before the region's deadly wildfires, a theory that state investigators are considering as they try to determine the cause. The lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of Santa Rosa homeowners Wayne and Jennifer Harvell says drought-like conditions over the summer put fire dangers 'at an extraordinarily high level,' particularly after heavy winter rains increased vegetation. It says PG&E failed to trim and remove vegetation as it should have. PG&E Corp., the utility's parent company, said Friday that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was investigating its power lines and equipment as a possible cause of the fires that have killed at least 41 people and destroyed 6,000 homes. The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates PG&E, would investigate only if state fire investigators determine that that the utility's equipment is suspected as a cause. That could lead to significant fines and penalties. The San Francisco-based utility said it would not speculate on causes of the fire and that it was cooperating with investigators. PG&E says it has told state regulators of seven incidents of damage to its equipment, including downed power lines and broken poles. It did not say whether they may have caused or contributed to the fire. Gerald Singleton, an attorney representing other homeowners and renters, said winds were strong but PG&E should have anticipated them. 'We can't get rid of all possible risks,' he said. 'It really is based on reasonableness — and that is what their duty is.' PG&E shares jumped 7.5 percent, or $4.01, to close at $57.44 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Still, the shares are down 17 percent since Wednesday. Earlier this year, the utility commission fined PG&E $8.3 million for failing to maintain a power line that sparked a massive blaze in Northern California that destroyed 549 homes and killed two people. A state fire investigation found the utility and its contractors failed to maintain a gray pine tree that slumped into a power line igniting the September 2015 fire in Amador County. Previously, California regulators fined PG&E $1.6 billion for 2010 natural gas explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. Also Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California wrote the Federal Communications Commission to express concern that the federal government has yet to adopt rules that would require wireless carriers to more precisely target neighborhoods with orders to evacuate. As fires rapidly spread Oct. 8, authorities sought to avoid alarming unaffected residents. 'These emergency services are caught in a bind between notifying individuals in imminent danger and risking mass panic. As a result, these services are compelled to rely on emergency messaging systems with far less reach and far less capacity,' they wrote.