Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 p.m. EST


The Latest: Avenatti released after domestic violence charge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael Avenatti has been released from police custody following his arrest on a felony domestic violence charge in Los Angeles.

As he walked out of the police station Wednesday, Avenatti told reporters he “has never struck a woman.”

He says he has been an advocate for women’s rights and would never disrespect his children by “touching a woman inappropriately.”

Avenatti says he’s confident he will be fully exonerated after police complete a thorough investigation.

Los Angeles police said Avenatti was arrested Wednesday afternoon and his bail was set at $50,000.

Officer Tony Im, a police spokesman, said the victim had visible injuries. He declined to provide details about the victim’s relationship to Avenatti.



Splintered migrant caravan groups arrive at US border

ESCUINAPA, Mexico (AP) — A caravan of thousands of Central American migrants is speeding its journey to the U.S. border, breaking up into smaller groups as buses and trucks carry some hundreds of miles in a day, while others behind remain stranded.

Authorities have been struggling to deal with the first sizeable group of 357 migrants who arrived in the border city of Tijuana aboard nine buses.

Tijuana’s head of migrant services says the group arrived Tuesday and immediately went to a stretch of border fence to celebrate.

Cesar Palencia Chavez says authorities had offered to take the migrants to shelters immediately, but they initially refused, saying they wanted to stay together.

But he says that after their visit to the border, most were taken to shelters in groups of 30 or 40.


The Latest: Dead identified in bus crash near Memphis

A Mississippi official is identifying two women killed in a tour bus crash on an icy road near Memphis, Tennessee.

DeSoto County Coroner Joshua Pounders says the dead are 70-year-old Betty Russell and 61-year-old Cynthia Hardin, both of Huntsville, Alabama.

The two women died after a tour bus operated by Teague VIP Express overturned on Interstate 269 in Byhalia, about 35 miles (southeast of Memphis.

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Johnny Poulos (POHL’-uhs) says witnesses told investigators that the driver lost control after crossing an icy overpass and the bus rolled over on the driver’s side, coming to rest in the highway median.

Poulos says investigators haven’t yet concluded how fast the bus was traveling.


The Latest: Hearing on fatal Southwest Air flight concludes

An investigative hearing into a broken fan blade that led to a fatal engine failure on a Southwest flight has concluded.

The majority of the National Transportation Safety Board hearing Wednesday was highly technical with testimony from representatives of the company that makes the blade and other industry officials.

Representatives from CFM International, which is owned by General Electric and France’s Safran SA, also testified about testing and certification of jet engines, which are supposed to be built to prevent pieces from breaking off and flying free.

The preliminary reports on the accident showed an engine fan blade broke and debris hit the plane, killing a woman who was blown partly out a broken window. Pilots landed the crippled plane safely in Philadelphia.

The NTSB is expected to determine a probable cause for the accident in the next several months.


The Latest: Trump backs major rewrite of sentencing laws

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s “thrilled” to support a bipartisan bill to reform federal sentencing guidelines.

The legislation is the first major rewrite of the nation’s criminal justice sentencing laws in a generation. Lawmakers reached agreement this week on legislation that would boost rehabilitation efforts for federal prisoners and give judges more discretion when sentencing nonviolent offenders, particularly for drug offenses.

Trump says he’s “thrilled to announce my support for this bipartisan bill.”

Speaking in the Roosevelt Room to announcing his backing for the bill, he joked: “Did I hear the word bipartisan? Did I hear that word? That’s a nice word.”

It is unclear whether the Senate will move to take up the bill during the lame-duck session.



Pence says US committed to Indo-Pacific, not seeking control

SINGAPORE (AP) — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says America has a steadfast and enduring commitment to the Indo-Pacific region but wants cooperation, not control.

Pence, who is standing in for President Donald Trump, told a summit of Southeast Asian leaders Thursday in Singapore that “empire and aggression have no place” in the region. The comment appeared to allude to growing Chinese sway in the region and its vast claims in the South China Sea.

Pence said, “Like you, we seek an Indo-Pacific in which all nations, large and small, can prosper and thrive – secure in our sovereignty, confident in our values, and growing stronger together.”

The meetings of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Nations focus on enhanced trade and security in a region of more than 630 million people.


D-Day for May as she seeks backing for draft Brexit deal

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to face her divided Cabinet in a bid to win support for a draft Brexit deal with the European Union.

Negotiators from the two sides have reached agreement on divorce terms, including a plan to resolve the key issue of the Irish border.

But pro-Brexit lawmakers in May’s divided Conservative Party are angry, saying the agreement will leave Britain tethered to the EU after it departs in March.Failure to secure Cabinet backing will leave May’s leadership in doubt and the Brexit process in chaos.

If Cabinet supports the deal Wednesday, it needs approval from the EU at a summit in the next few weeks. Then May will need to win backing from Parliament, where pro-Brexit and pro-EU legislators alike are threatening to oppose it.


Bishops angered by scandal involving ex-Cardinal McCarrick

BALTIMORE (AP) — Numerous U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are calling for a formal repudiation of Theodore McCarrick, the ex-cardinal facing allegations of sexual misconduct over a long stretch of his career.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been striving during its three-day meeting in Baltimore to show its commitment to combating clergy sex-abuse even though the Vatican ordered it to delay votes on two key anti-abuse proposals.

The abuse scandal has affected many dioceses, but the bishops appeared to be most angered and embarrassed by McCarrick.

He is alleged to have abused and harassed youths and seminarians over many years as he rose to be archbishop of Washington and a member of the College of Cardinals until his removal by Pope Francis in July.

In other action Wednesday, the bishops approved a pastoral letter condemning racism, the first time they have spoken as a group on that issue since 1979.


The Latest: Keith Urban wins entertainer of the year at CMAs

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Keith Urban has been named entertainer of the year at the 2018 Country Music Association Awards.

His wife, actress Nicole Kidman, was in tears as her husband walked onstage to collect the prize Wednesday night.

The country superstar told Kidman: “Baby girl, I love you so much.” He continued that he was “shocked beyond shocked.”

Urban beat out Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney for the prize.

The Australian performer said he wished his dad was alive to see him win.


Keepers of JFK legacy hoping to show words count on Twitter

BOSTON (AP) — President John F. Kennedy helped inspire a nation to land a man on the moon — but he never got the chance to tweet about it.

That’s changing.

The JFK Library Foundation has launched a new project they’re calling “Words Count” that takes quotes from the nation’s 35th president and tweets them out using the @JohnFKennedy Twitter handle. The account features exact quotations said or written by Kennedy as president.

The goal is to use a 21st century medium to pass the baton of Kennedy’s soaring oratory to a new generation who only know him from history books and news clips.

Foundation officials won’t say if the project is also a swipe at President Donald Trump’s more bombastic use of social media, leaving it to readers to draw any conclusions.

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