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

Incoming Mexico gov’t: No deal to host US asylum-seekers

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s incoming government denied a report Saturday that it plans to allow asylum-seekers to wait in the country while their claims move through U.S. immigration courts, one of several options the Trump administration has been pursuing in negotiations for months.

The deal was seen as a way to dissuade thousands of Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S., a process that can take years. In effect, Mexican border towns are already acting as waiting rooms for migrants hoping to start new lives in the U.S. due to bottlenecks at the border.

“There is no agreement of any sort between the incoming Mexican government and the U.S. government,” future Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said in a statement.

Hours earlier, The Washington Post quoted her as saying that the incoming administration of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had agreed to allow migrants to stay in Mexico as a “short-term solution” while the U.S. considered their applications for asylum. Lopez Obrador will take office on Dec. 1.

The statement shared with The Associated Press said the future government’s principal concern related to the migrants is their well-being while in Mexico.

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Memos to Nobody: Inside the work of a neglected fed agency

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mark Robbins gets to work at 8:15 each morning and unlocks the door to his office suite. He switches on the lights and the TV news, brews a pot of coffee and pulls out the first files of the day to review.

For the next eight hours or so, he reads through federal workplace disputes, analyzes the cases, marks them with notes and logs his legal opinions. When he’s finished, he slips the files into a cardboard box and carries them into an empty room where they will sit and wait. For nobody.

He’s at 1,520 files and counting.

Such is the lot of the last man standing in this forgotten corner of Donald Trump’s Washington. For nearly two years, while Congress has argued and the White House has delayed, Robbins has waited to be sent some colleagues to read his work and rule on the cases. No one has arrived. So he toils in vain, writing memos into the void.

Robbins is a one-man microcosm of a current strand of government dysfunction. His office isn’t a high-profile political target. No politician has publicly pledged to slash his budget. But his agency’s work has effectively been neutered through neglect. Promising to shrink the size of government, the president has been slow to fill posts and the Republican-led Congress has struggled to win approval for nominees. The combined effect isn’t always dramatic, but it’s strikingly clear when examined up close.

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Spain to back Brexit deal after UK agrees to Gibraltar terms

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union removed the last major obstacle to sealing an agreement on Brexit after Spain said it had reached a deal Saturday with Britain over Gibraltar on the eve of a summit where EU leaders will sign off on the divorce papers.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who held preparatory talks with EU leaders Saturday evening, will then have the momentous task of selling the terms of the deal to a recalcitrant British Parliament and a nation still fundamentally split over whether the U.K. should leave the EU on March 29 and under what conditions.

May vowed to campaign “with my heart and soul” to win Parliament’s backing for the deal.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who had threatened to oppose the deal, announced Saturday that Madrid would support the divorce agreement after the U.K. and the EU underscored Spain’s say in the future of the disputed British territory of Gibraltar, which lies at the southern tip of the Mediterranean nation.

Spain wants the future of the tiny territory, which was ceded to Britain in 1713 but is still claimed by Spain, to be a bilateral issue between Madrid and London, not between Britain and the EU.

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French protesters angry over fuel taxes clash with police

PARIS (AP) — French police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse violent demonstrators in Paris on Saturday, as thousands gathered in the capital and beyond and staged road blockades to vent anger against rising fuel taxes.

Thousands of police were deployed nationwide to contain the eighth day of deadly demonstrations that started as protests against tax but morphed into a rebuke of President Emmanuel Macron and the perceived elitism of France’s ruling class. Two people have been killed since Nov. 17 in protest-related tragedies.

Tense clashes on the Champs-Elysees that ended by dusk Saturday saw police face off with demonstrators who burned plywood, wielded placards reading “Death to Taxes” and upturned a large vehicle.

At least 19 people, including four police officers, were slightly hurt and one person had more serious injuries in the day of unrest in Paris, according to police.

Macron responded in a strongly worded tweet: “Shame on those who attacked (police). Shame on those who were violent against other citizens … No place for this violence in the Republic.”

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Fights, escapes, harm: Migrant kids struggle in facilities

HOUSTON (AP) — In one government facility for immigrant youth, a 20-year-old woman who had lied that she was 17 sneaked a needle out of a sewing class and used it to cut herself.

In another, cameras captured a boy repeatedly kicking a child in the head after they got into an argument on the soccer field.

One 6-year-old tried to run away from the same facility after another boy threw his shoes into the toilet. Three employees had to pull the boy off a fence and carry him back into a building.

Records obtained by The Associated Press highlight some of the problems that plague government facilities for immigrant youth at a time when President Donald Trump’s administration has been making moves in recent weeks that could send even more migrant children into detention.

About 14,000 immigrant children are currently detained in more than 100 facilities nationally, with about 5,900 in Texas. Many crossed the border without their parents and are having to wait longer in detention to be placed with relatives or sponsors, who are being dissuaded to come forward out of fear they’ll be arrested and deported.

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Protesters march after death of man who wasn’t mall shooter

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Protesters on Saturday marched through an Alabama shopping mall where police killed a black man they later acknowledged was not the triggerman in a Thanksgiving night shooting that wounded two people.

An officer shot and killed 21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr. of Hueytown while responding to the Thursday mall shooting. Police said Bradford was fleeing the scene with a handgun.

Hoover police initially told reporters Bradford had shot a teen at the mall, but later retracted the statement.

“We knew that was false,” said stepmother Cynthia Bradford when she heard police were blaming him for the shooting. She described her stepson, who went by E.J., as a respectful young man whose father worked at a jail for the Birmingham Police Department.

Hoover Police Captain Gregg Rector said investigators now believe that more than two people were involved in the initial fight ahead of the shooting, and that “at least one gunman” is still at large who could be responsible. Police said while Bradford “may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation, he likely did not fire the rounds that injured the 18-year-old victim.” Rector said police regret that their initial statement about Bradford was not accurate.

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Syria state TV: 50 injured in rebel poison gas attack

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — At least 50 civilians were being treated Saturday following a suspected poison gas attack by Syrian rebel groups on the government-held Aleppo city in the country’s north, according to reports in Syrian state media.

Most of those admitted to hospitals had breathing problems and blurred vision, doctors told state TV. One doctor said two were in critical condition, including a child. State TV showed footage of medical professionals treating men and women on hospital beds.

There was a stench of gas in Aleppo city after projectiles were fired, said Rami Abdurrahman, the head of Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Rebel commanders and opposition figures discredited the government reports, denying they lobbed gas into Aleppo and accusing Damascus of seeking to undermine an existing cease-fire and efforts to kickstart political talks. Earlier Saturday, government shelling of a rebel-held area in neighboring Idlib province killed at least seven civilians.

In Aleppo city, local governor Hussein Diab visited the injured at the hospital. He told state TV that 41 people had been admitted and accused rebels of using poisonous gas in the missiles they lobbed at the Aleppo neighborhood.

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AP Interview: Saudi royal says crown prince is here to stay

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A prominent Saudi royal said Saturday that whether or not heads of state gathered in Argentina next week for the Group of 20 summit warmly engage with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he is someone “that they have to deal with.”

Prince Turki al-Faisal told The Associated Press the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last month is “an unacceptable incident that tars and mars the long record of Saudi Arabia’s own standing in the world.”

“We will have to bear that. It’s not something that should not be faced. And we do face it,” he said.

Intelligence officials and analysts say the operation to kill Khashoggi, who wrote critically of the crown prince for The Washington Post, could not have happened without Prince Mohammed’s knowledge. The kingdom, which has offered several conflicting accounts of the killing, denies the crown prince had any involvement.

The crown prince embarked late Thursday on his first foreign tour since the Oct. 2 killing with a visit to the United Arab Emirates. He’s expected to visit other Mideast countries before going to Buenos Aires Nov. 30 for the start of the two-day G-20 summit, where he’ll come face to face with world leaders.

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New lander will add to humans’ long fascination with Mars

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — In our solar system family, Mars is Earth’s next-of-kin, the next-door relative that has captivated humans for millennia. The attraction is sure to grow with Monday’s arrival of a NASA lander named InSight.

InSight should provide our best look yet at Mars’ deep interior, using a mechanical mole to tunnel 16 feet (5 meters) deep to measure internal heat, and a seismometer to register quakes, meteorite strikes and anything else that might start the red planet shaking.

Scientists consider Mars a tantalizing time capsule. It is less geologically active than the twice-as-big Earth and so retains much of its early history. By studying the preserved heart of Mars, InSight can teach us how our solar system’s rocky planets formed 4 1/2 billion years ago and why they turned out so different.

“Venus is hot enough to melt lead. Mercury has a sunbaked surface. Mars is pretty cold today. But Earth is a nice place to take a vacation, so we’d really like to know why one planet goes one way, another planet goes another way,” said InSight’s lead scientist Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Today’s Earthlings are lured to Mars for a variety of reasons.

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‘Don’t Look Now’ director Nicolas Roeg dies at 90

LONDON (AP) — Nicolas Roeg, a director of provocative and otherworldly films who gave Mick Jagger and David Bowie enduring screen roles, has died. He was 90.

The British director of “Don’t Look Now” and many other films died Friday night, his son, Nicolas Roeg Jr., told Britain’s Press Association.

“He was a genuine dad,” Roeg Jr. said Saturday. “He just had his 90th birthday in August.”

He didn’t provide details about his father’s death during a brief telephone call with the association.

During the 1970s, Roeg sent Jenny Agutter and his son Luc Roeg on the Australian Outback odyssey “Walkabout;” gave Jagger a big-screen role in the thriller “Performance,” which was co-directed with Donald Cammell; and plunged Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland into psychological horror in the Venice-set “Don’t Look Now.”

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