SUPREME COURT-KAVANAUGH-THE LATEST The Latest: Murkowski calls Kavanaugh decision ‘agonizing’ WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she opposes Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh but will ask to be recorded as “present” during Saturday’s confirmation…
SUPREME COURT-KAVANAUGH-THE LATEST
The Latest: Murkowski calls Kavanaugh decision ‘agonizing’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she opposes Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh but will ask to be recorded as “present” during Saturday’s confirmation vote to accommodate another GOP senator who will be at his daughter’s wedding in Montana.
Senators often partner like that to allow an absence without affecting the outcome. Murkowski’s vote will allow Sen. Steve Daines to walk his daughter down the aisle.
The Alaska Republican was laying out her reasons late Friday for opposing Kavanaugh, a decision she called “agonizing.”
She said she was “truly leaning” toward confirming the judge. But after watching his testimony, she could not in her conscience conclude “that he is the right person” for the court at this time.
CHICAGO POLICE-LAQUAN MCDONALD-THE LATEST
Latest: Marchers celebrate verdict in downtown Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of boisterous but peaceful demonstrators briefly blocked several streets in downtown Chicago after white police officer Jason Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder Friday in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.
Carrying signs reading “Justice for Laquan McDonald” while chanting “16 shots” and “guilty,” the marchers started outside City Hall and continued for many blocks. The tone was celebratory as demonstrators pushed past police officers lining the route.
The march ended in front of Trump International Hotel and Tower.
Man charged after toxic letters sent to Trump, other leaders
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Navy veteran in Utah has been charged with threatening to use a biological toxin as a weapon by sending letters to President Donald Trump and other leaders containing ground castor beans, the substance from which ricin is derived.
Charging documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court say 39-year-old William Clyde Allen III told investigators he wanted to “send a message,” though he did not elaborate.
Allen, who cried in court while speaking about his ailing wife, could face up to life in prison if convicted on one of the five charges.
He did not enter a plea and his attorney was not available for questions.
Authorities say the envelopes were mailed to Trump, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson. Some allegedly had Allen’s return address.
Investigators say the letters were intercepted.
SUPREME COURT-KAVANAUGH-GOP WOMEN
Collins and Murkowski offer contrast on Kavanaugh vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — They’re longtime friends, but Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins displayed vastly different styles Friday as they reached opposite conclusions on the crucial question of whether to support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Murkowski, in her fourth term representing Alaska, quietly uttered a single word — no — as she turned against her party’s nominee following weeks of public indecision.
Collins, in her fourth term representing Maine, spoke on the Senate floor for 45 minutes to explain in detail her decision to support Kavanaugh.
Collins’s announcement proved decisive.
Minutes after she finished speaking, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he, too, would support Kavanaugh.
That ensured at least 51 votes for President Donald Trump’s nominee to the high court.
US unemployment rate falls to 49-year low of 3.7 percent
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September, the lowest level since December 1969, as the longest streak of hiring on record has put millions of Americans back to work since the Great Recession.
The Labor Department says employers added just 134,000 jobs, the fewest in a year, though that figure was likely lowered by Hurricane Florence. The storm struck North and South Carolina in the middle of September and closed thousands of businesses. A category that includes restaurants, hotels and casinos lost jobs for the first time since last September, when Hurricane Harvey had a similar effect.
Even with unemployment at a historic low, average hourly pay increased just 2.8 percent from a year earlier, one tick below the yearly gain in August.
FRANCE-INTERPOL PRESIDENT-THE LATEST
The Latest: Interpol aware officer is reported held in China
PARIS (AP) — A Hong Kong newspaper has cited an anonymous source saying the president of Interpol was taken away for questioning by “discipline authorities,” a term that usually describes investigators in the ruling Communist Party who probe graft and political disloyalty.
The South China Morning Post reported Friday that Meng Hongwei was placed under investigation in his native China as soon as he arrived in the country last week.
An Interpol spokesman says the international law enforcement agency is aware of the Post’s story, but would not comment on it or say if Chinese authorities had detained the 64-year-old Meng.
Meng’s wife says she has not heard from him since he left Lyon, France, where Interpol is headquartered, at the end of September.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s secretive internal investigation agency, had no announcements on its website about Meng and could not be reached for comment.
MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR-NAME CHANGE
Mormon no more: Tabernacle Choir renamed in big church shift
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been renamed to drop the word “Mormon,” showing that the church’s new president is serious about ending shorthand names for the faith.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement Friday that the famous gospel singing group will now be called the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.
The new name marks the first major step since church President Russell M. Nelson announced guidelines in August for people to stop using “Mormon” or “LDS” as substitutes for the church’s full name.
The terms have been used for generations by church members and were previously promoted by the faith.
Therapy dogs may unleash superbugs, researchers say
NEW YORK (AP) — Therapy dogs can bring more than joy and comfort to hospitalized kids. They can also bring stubborn germs.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore were suspicious that the dogs might pose an infection risk to patients with weakened immune systems.
They discovered that kids who spent more time with four therapy dogs had a 6 times greater chance of coming away with superbug bacteria than kids who spent less time with the animals.
But the study also found that washing the dogs before visits and using special wipes while they’re in the hospital took away the risk of spreading that bacteria.
The results of the unpublished study were released Friday at a scientific meeting in San Francisco.
Judge: Trump administration can’t tie funding to immigration
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. judge in San Francisco has ordered the Trump administration to give California $28 million in law enforcement funding that was withheld in a fight over the state’s immigration policies.
In a ruling Friday, Judge William Orrick also declared unconstitutional an immigration law the administration has used to go after cities and states that limit cooperation with immigration officials.
The law forbids states and cities from blocking officials from reporting people’s immigration status to U.S. authorities.
Orrick is at least the third U.S. judge in recent months to declare the law unconstitutional.
His decision was significant because it applied to California, a major target of the administration’s crackdown on sanctuary jurisdictions.
The administration cited the immigration law in a lawsuit filed against California in March.
A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman declined comment.
The Situation gets 8-month sentence in federal tax case
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Situation has been sentenced to eight months in prison for tax fraud.
A federal judge pronounced the sentence Friday for the “Jersey Shore” star, whose real name is Michael Sorrentino, shortly after his brother Marc received a two-year sentence on the same charge.
Both brothers pleaded guilty in January. They were charged in 2014 with tax offenses related to nearly $9 million in income.
Michael Sorrentino’s attorneys had sought probation, while prosecutors wanted a sentence of 14 months.
He appeared on all six seasons of the reality show that ran from 2009 to 2012 and followed the lives of rowdy housemates in the New Jersey town of Seaside Heights.
Michael Sorrentino apologized to the court during brief remarks and said he has overcome substance abuse.