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

Trump revives fiery immigration talk for ‘caravan’ election

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Donald Trump fueled his 2016 campaign with fiery immigration rhetoric, visions of hordes flowing across the border to assault Americans and steal their jobs. Now, in the final weeks before midterm elections, he’s back at it as he looks to stave off Democratic gains in Congress.

It’s an approach that offers both risks and rewards. He could energize Democratic foes as well as the Republicans he wants to rouse to the polls.

But for the president, the potential gains clearly win out. In campaign stops and on Twitter in recent days, he has seized on a huge caravan of Central American migrants trying to reach the United States through Mexico as fresh evidence that his tough immigration prescriptions are needed.

He tweeted that the caravan was an “assault on our country at our Southern Border.” Then, Thursday night in Montana, he told cheering supporters, “This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense. … Remember it’s gonna be an election of the caravan.”

His assertions got a visual boost Friday when some members of the caravan broke through a Guatemalan border barrier with Mexico. A few then got through to Mexican territory, but most were repelled by police with riot shields and pepper spray.

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Alaska’s independent governor drops re-election bid

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker dropped his re-election bid Friday, three days after the sudden resignation of his lieutenant governor over what Walker described as an inappropriate overture toward a woman.

Walker’s announcement, made at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage shortly before he was to participate in a debate, was met with gasps and cries of “No!” from the audience.

“‘Alaska First’ is and cannot be just a campaign slogan,” he said. With less than three weeks until the election, Walker, an independent, said it became clear he could not win a three-way race against Republican former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy and Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich.

Alaskans deserve a competitive race, “and Alaskans deserve a choice other than Mike Dunleavy,” he said.

Walker, a former Republican and the only independent governor in the country, told reporters he doesn’t agree with Begich on a lot of things. But he said Begich would be better for Alaska than Dunleavy.

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Saudis blame ‘fistfight’ for Jamal Khashoggi’s death

ISTANBUL (AP) — Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a “fistfight” in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, the kingdom claimed early Saturday, finally admitting that the writer had been slain at its diplomatic post. Authorities said 18 Saudi suspects were in custody and intelligence officials had been fired.

The overnight announcements in Saudi state media came more than two weeks after Khashoggi, 59, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul for paperwork required to marry his Turkish fiancée, and never came out. They also contradicted assertions in Turkish media leaks that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered inside the consulate, claims the kingdom had previously rejected as “baseless.”

But growing international pressure and comments by U.S. officials up to President Donald Trump forced the kingdom to acknowledge Khashoggi’s death.

While it fired officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia stopped short of implicating the heir-apparent of the world’s largest oil exporter. King Salman, his father, appointed him to lead a committee that will restructure the kingdom’s intelligence services after Khashoggi’s slaying. No major decisions in Saudi Arabia are made outside of the ultraconservative kingdom’s ruling Al Saud family.

The kingdom also offered a far different version of events than those given by Turkish officials, who have said an “assassination squad” from the kingdom including an official from Prince Mohammed’s entourage and an “autopsy expert” flew in ahead of time and laid in wait for Khashoggi at the consulate. Beyond its statements attributed to anonymous officials, Saudi Arabia offered no evidence to support its claims.

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Silenced forever: Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi is dead

BEIRUT (AP) — Two days after Jamal Khashoggi vanished into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, The Washington Post published a column featuring his byline and the headline “A missing voice.” The space below it was blank.

That influential voice on Saudi affairs has been silenced forever after three decades as a writer, editor, commentator and media adviser.

Eighteen days after Khashoggi disappeared, Saudi Arabia acknowledged early Saturday that the 59-year-old writer has died in what it said was a “fistfight” inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudi announcement shed little light on the mystery of Khashoggi’s disappearance and contradicted leaks from Turkish media that he was tortured, killed and dismembered.

Once close to the royal family and an adviser to the country’s former intelligence chief, Khashoggi became a sharp critic of its young and ambitious crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, for cracking down on any opposition and miring the country in a conflict in neighboring Yemen that killed thousands of people.

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Caravan migrants break Guatemala border fence, rush Mexico

TECUN UMAN, Guatemala (AP) — Migrants traveling in a mass caravan burst through a Guatemalan border fence and streamed by the thousands toward Mexican territory on Friday, defying Mexican authorities’ entreaties for an orderly crossing and U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of retaliation.

On the Mexican side of a border bridge, they were met by a phalanx of police with riot shields. About 50 managed to push their way through before officers unleashed pepper spray and the rest retreated.

The gates were closed again, and police used a loudspeaker to address the masses, saying, “We need you to stop the aggression.”

Mexican federal police chief Manelich Castilla, speaking from the border town of Ciudad Hidalgo, told Foro TV that his forces achieved their main objective of preventing a violent breach by the 3,000-plus migrants. In a separate interview with Milenio television, he accused people not part of the caravan of attacking police with firecrackers and rocks.

“It will be under the conditions that have been said since the start,” Castilla said. “Orderly, with established procedures, never through violence or force as a group of people attempted.”

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Russian woman charged in first 2018 election meddling case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. accused a Russian woman on Friday of helping oversee the finances of a sweeping, secretive effort to sway American public opinion through social media in the first federal case alleging foreign interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

The criminal complaint against Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova alleges that Russians are using some of the same techniques to influence U.S. politics as they relied on ahead of the 2016 presidential election, methods laid bare by an investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller into possible coordination between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.

Justice Department prosecutors claim that Khusyaynova, of St. Petersburg, helped manage the finances of a hidden but powerful Russian social media effort aimed at spreading distrust for American political candidates and causing divisions on hot-button social issues like immigration and gun control.

The Justice Department unsealed the criminal complaint on the same day that U.S. intelligence agencies, in a rare public statement , asserted that Russia, China, Iran and other countries are engaged in continuous efforts to influence American policy and voters in the upcoming elections and beyond. National security adviser John Bolton heads to Russia on Saturday.

The U.S. is concerned about the foreign campaigns “to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies,” said the statement from national security officials. The statement, which provided no details about any such efforts, said, “These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision-making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.”

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Mega Millions jackpot hits $1B, thanks to worsening odds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — If it seems like lottery jackpots are getting larger and larger, it’s because they are getting larger and larger.

Friday night’s Mega Millions estimated grand prize has hit a staggering $1 billion, continuing a trend of giant jackpots. It’s the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history and joins five other top 10 drawings in the last three years.

Lottery officials changed the odds in recent years to lessen the chance of winning a jackpot, which in turn increased the opportunity for top prizes to reach stratospheric levels. A look at how the numbers work out:

WHY REDUCE THE NUMBER OF JACKPOTS?

The theory was that bigger jackpots would draw more attention, leading more players to plop down $2 for a Mega Millions or Powerball ticket. The more tickets sold, the more the jackpots grow, leading to more players and … you get the idea.

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Trump’s national security adviser heads to Moscow

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser will raise thorny subjects with his counterparts when he visits Moscow to help craft a script for another high-level meeting between Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin.

John Bolton leaves Saturday on a trip to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. His first stop is Moscow to meet with senior Russian officials at a time when Moscow-Washington relations remain frosty over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and upcoming U.S. midterm elections.

The New York Times citing unnamed sources reported Friday that Bolton is expected to tell Russia that the U.S. is getting ready to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The U.S. has accused Russia of violating the treaty for years; Russia says the United States is in violation.

The 1987 pact, which helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East, prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

The Trump administration would not confirm reports that Trump will exit the treaty.

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Train mows down crowd at India festival, at least 60 dead

NEW DELHI (AP) — A speeding train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India on Friday evening, killing at least 60 people and injuring dozens more, police said.

The train failed to stop after the accident on the outskirts of Amritsar, a city in Punjab state, said the state governing Congress party politician, Pratap Singh Bajwa.

Railway police officer Sukhwinder Singh said Saturday morning that the death toll had risen to 60. Another 50 people have been injured and hospitalized.

The Press Trust of India news agency said two trains arrived from the opposite direction on separate tracks at the same time, giving little opportunity for people to escape. The casualties were caused by one of the trains, it quoted officials as saying.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was extremely saddened by the accident. “Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required,” Modi said on Twitter.

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Democratic Sen. Warren, GOP challenger clash in debate

BOSTON (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her Republican challenger, Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl, clashed on everything from tax cuts to immigration to Warren’s decision to release a DNA test during their first debate Friday.

The meeting was combative at times, with the candidates challenging each other and sometimes talking over one another.

Diehl faulted Warren during the televised debate for opposing the Republican-led tax bill, which he said benefited local taxpayers and businesses.

“Eighty percent of Massachusetts residents are getting a tax cut, lower taxes federally, because of that tax reform,” Diehl said. “That’s why we’re seeing, now, businesses reinvesting.”

Warren said the bill works for billionaires and corporations — and not enough for ordinary taxpayers — while expanding the deficit, which she said is giving Republicans a reason to target cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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