LONE BUREAUCRAT Memos to Nobody: Inside the work of a neglected fed agency WASHINGTON (AP) — Inside a neglected agency, a lawyer reads through federal workplace disputes, analyzes cases, marks them with notes and logs…
Memos to Nobody: Inside the work of a neglected fed agency
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inside a neglected agency, a lawyer reads through federal workplace disputes, analyzes cases, marks them with notes and logs his legal opinions, then passes them along to nobody because he’s toiling alone.
Mark Robbins is at 1,520 files and counting.
Robbins is a member of the Merit Systems Protection Board, which helps determine whether civil servants have been mistreated by their employers. The three board members are presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed.
Robbins is the sole member now and acting chairman. The board needs at least two members to decide cases.
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.
The Latest: N Ireland party leader rejects Brexit deal
BRUSSELS (AP) — The leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party has used her keynote speech at the annual conference to reject the British government’s planned Brexit deal.
Arlene Foster said in Belfast on Saturday that the deal agreed by Prime Minister Theresa May is unacceptable and must be improved upon in the weeks ahead.
Foster’s view is important because the DUP provides crucial votes that help keep May’s Conservative Party in power despite its minority position in Parliament.
She said that the draft agreement raises constitutional questions that can’t be ignored.
Foster said the DUP insists on “an outcome that does not leave Northern Ireland open to the perils of increased divergence away from the rest of the United Kingdom.”
The DUP has said it may drop its backing of the government because of the Brexit plan.
The Latest: Macron condemns violence at French protests
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned violence by protesters at demonstrations against rising fuel taxes and his government.
Macron said 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.”
At least 20 people were hurt in the protests, including one with more serious injuries. Dozens of people have been arrested.
MALL SHOOTING-ALABAMA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Father says man killed in mall had gun permit
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — The father of a black man killed by a police officer during an Alabama mall shooting says his son had a permit to carry a weapon for self-defense.
Twenty-one-year-old Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. was fatally shot by a police officer responding to the Thanksgiving night shooting that wounded an 18-year-old and 12-year-old. Hoover police initially thought Bradford, who was carrying a handgun, was responsible. Authorities later said it was unlikely that Bradford had done the shooting.
Bradford’s father, Emantic Bradford Sr., spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday night from his family’s home. He said it was hurtful that police portrayed his son as the shooter.
The family wants to know if there is police body camera footage from the shooting. Hoover police have not confirmed to the Associated Press whether such footage exists.
The Latest: Syrian rebels dismiss poison-gas claims
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian rebels have dismissed government accusations they used poison gas to attack government-held Aleppo city.
Rebel commander Abdel-Salam Abdel-Razak says the opposition doesn’t possess poisonous gases or the capabilities to lob them. Abdel-Razak served in Syria’s chemical weapons program before defecting to join the opposition in the early years of the conflict, which began in 2011.
Abdel-Razak tweeted that “These are lies” soon after reports emerged of an attack in Aleppo that injured dozens of people.
Rebel spokesman Mustafa Sejari dismisses the poison-gas claims. He says they came after government shells landed in rebel-held areas, violating a Russian-backed cease-fire. He says the government is trying to undermine the cease-fire.
Son says UK film director Nicolas Roeg has died aged 90
LONDON (AP) — The son of Nicolas Roeg says the prominent British film director has died. He was 90.
Nicolas Roeg Jr. told Britain’s Press Association that the director of “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and “Don’t Look Now” died Friday night.
“He was a genuine dad,” said Roeg Jr. “He just had his 90th birthday in August.”
He didn’t provide details about his father’s death.
Roeg’s career spanned six decades and he was known for making provocative films and working with major rock stars Mick Jagger and David Bowie.
He worked his way into directing after winning acclaim as a cinematographer.
The Latest: Taiwanese reject gay marriage, new Olympic name
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Voters in Taiwan have approved a referendum opposing same-sex marriage while rejecting a proposal to change the name of its Olympic team to Taiwan from the current Chinese Taipei.
The referendums were among 10 on the ballot during island-wide city mayoral elections Saturday that dealt a major setback to President Tsai Ing-wen’s independence-leaning party.
Ballot initiatives are advisory only in Taiwan, but the vote in favor of restricting marriage to male-female couples will put lawmakers in a difficult position. They face both a court order to make same-sex marriage legal by 2019 and elections in 2020.
The proposal to use the name Taiwan at future international sports events was opposed by China, which considers Taiwan a part of its territory. It was seen as a test of support for independence.
Indian police map area of island where US man was killed
NEW DELHI (AP) — Police say they have mapped the area of a remote Indian island where tribespeople were seen burying the body of an American man after allegedly killing him with arrows this month.
Police said Saturday that during their visit to the island’s surroundings on Friday, investigators also spotted four or five North Sentinel islanders moving around and studied their behavior for several hours.
Indian authorities have been struggling to figure out how to recover the body of 26-year-old John Allen Chau, who was killed by islanders who apparently shot him with arrows and then buried his body on the beach.
Friday’s visit was the second boat expedition of the week by a team of police and officials from the forest department, tribal welfare department and coast guard, according to police.
Rain helps douse California fire but slows search crews
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — Rains are helping douse a massive and deadly Northern California wildfire.
The blaze that destroyed Paradise, California, and nearby towns was 95 percent contained as of Friday night.
The heavy rain and strong wind are also complicating the search process for the remains of people trapped by the fire. At least 84 people have been killed.
The precipitation temporarily stopped some search crews Friday who were scouring burned-down areas for remains. Rain saturates the ground and weighs down trees that may fall over and injure search workers.
A search team from Orange County spent Friday combing through ash and debris at a mobile home park in Paradise that had already been searched once by humans and dogs.