Nation bids goodbye to Bush with high praise, cannons, humor
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation bid goodbye to George H.W. Bush with high praise, cannon salutes and gentle humor Wednesday, celebrating the life of the Texan who embraced a lifetime of service in Washington and was the last president to fight for the U.S. in wartime. Three former presidents looked on at Washington National Cathedral as a fourth — George W. Bush — eulogized his dad as “the brightest of a thousand points of light.”
After three days of remembrance in the capital city, the Air Force plane with Bush’s casket left for a final service in Houston and burial Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. His final resting place is alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, and Robin Bush, the daughter who died of leukemia at age 3.
His plane, which often serves as Air Force One, arrived at Ellington Field outside Houston in late afternoon. As a motorcade subsequently carried Bush’s remains to the family church, St. Martin’s Episcopal, along a closed interstate, hundreds of people in stopped cars on the other side of the road, took pictures and shot cell phone video. One driver of a tanker truck climbed atop the hulking vehicle for a better view, and at least 15 firefighters scaled a pair of stopped firetrucks to salute.
Upon its arrival at the church, Bush’s casket was met by a military band and Houston Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The national funeral service at the cathedral was a tribute to a president, a patriarch and a faded political era that prized military service and public responsibility. It was laced with indirect comparisons to President Donald Trump but was not consumed by them, as speakers focused on Bush’s public life and character — with plenty of cracks about his goofy side, too.
Trump odd man out as presidents assemble for Bush funeral
WASHINGTON (AP) — There was no mistaking the odd man out.
Wednesday’s funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush served as a rare reunion of the remaining members of the presidents club, but the front-row banter among Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and their spouses came to an uneasy end when President Donald Trump and wife Melania arrived.
The encounter was a real-time illustration of the uneasy ties between the current occupant of the White House and his predecessors, suggesting Trump as a member-in-name-only of the Oval Office fraternity. While the funeral ceremony itself was a warm celebration of the late president, the relationships between the surviving presidents are considerably cooler.
Trump gave the two Obamas a handshake before taking his seat in Washington’s National Cathedral without greeting the others. Hillary Clinton nodded at Melania Trump but then stared straight ahead.
The last of the five presidents to arrive was George W. Bush, who made a point to shake hands with all four couples — and appeared to share a moment of humor with Michelle Obama, slipping something into her hand. Bush then took his seat with the rest of the Bush family, across the aisle from the ex-presidents.
Canada arrests CFO of China’s Huawei Technologies
TORONTO (AP) — Canadian authorities said Wednesday that they have arrested the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies for possible extradition to the United States.
China demanded her immediate release, and a former Canadian envoy to China warned the case might lead to retaliation by the Chinese against American and Canadian executives.
Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday.
The arrest took place on the same day Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the trade war after the close of the G-20 summit in Argentina. They agreed to a 90-day truce in an escalating trade war that is threatening world economic growth and has set global investors on edge.
Meng is a prominent member of Chinese society as deputy chairman of the board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei.
Next governor will ask Walker to veto lame-duck legislation
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The incoming Democratic governor of Wisconsin said Wednesday that he plans to make a personal appeal to his defeated rival, Gov. Scott Walker, to veto far-reaching GOP legislation that would strip the new administration of some powers. If that doesn’t work, he might sue.
Wisconsin Republicans pushed through protests, internal disagreement and Democratic opposition to pass the bills after an all-night session. The measures would shift power to the GOP-controlled Legislature and weaken the authority of the office Republicans will lose in January.
“The will of the people has officially been ignored by the Legislature,” Gov. Tony Evers said, adding that the lawmakers’ actions “take us back to Nov. 6,” before the election was finalized.
“Wisconsin should be embarrassed by this,” Evers said.
He said he will talk to Walker as soon as the bills reach his desk and that if he cannot persuade the governor to veto the proposals, he will consider lawsuits and any other option “to make sure that this legislation does not get into practice.”
Honduran woman in migrant caravan gives birth in US
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Honduran woman affiliated with a caravan of Central American migrants gave birth on U.S. soil shortly after entering the country illegally amid growing frustration about a bottleneck to claim asylum at official border crossings.
Border Patrol agents arrested the woman Nov. 26 after she entered the country illegally near Imperial Beach, California, across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday. She was arrested with her 20-year-old husband and 2-year-old son.
The woman, who was eight months pregnant, was taken to a hospital after complaining about abdominal plan the day after her arrest, Customs and Border Protection said.
The family was released from custody on Sunday, pending the outcomes of their immigration cases.
Univision reported that the family is seeking asylum and hoped to join family in Columbus, Ohio, while their cases are pending.
Documents show Facebook used user data as competitive weapon
Internal Facebook documents released by a U.K. parliamentary committee offer the clearest evidence yet that the social network has used its enormous trove of user data as a competitive weapon, often in ways designed to keep its users in the dark.
Parliament’s media committee accused Facebook on Wednesday of cutting special deals with some app developers to give them more access to data, while icing out others that it viewed as potential rivals.
In other documents, company executives discussed how they were keeping the company’s collection and exploitation of user data from its users. That included quietly collecting the call records and text messages of users of phones that run on Google’s Android operating system without asking their permission.
The U.K. committee released more than 200 pages of documents on the tech giant’s internal discussions about the value of users’ personal information. While they mostly cover the period between 2012 and 2015 —the first three years after Facebook went public — they offer a rare glimpse into the company’s inner workings and the extent to which it used people’s data to make money while publicly vowing to protect their privacy.
The company’s critics said the new revelations reinforced their concerns over what users actually know about how Facebook treats their data.
Border agent indicted for capital murder in 4 Texas deaths
DALLAS (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to killing four sex workers told investigators he wanted to “clean up the streets” of his Texas border hometown, a prosecutor said Wednesday while announcing that a grand jury had indicted the man for capital murder.
Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said he will seek the death penalty for the September slayings and that evidence presented to the grand jury showed Juan David Ortiz killed the women “in a cold, callous and calculating way.”
“The scheme in this case, from Ortiz’s own words, was to clean up the streets of Laredo by targeting this community of individuals who he perceived to be disposable, that no one would miss and that he did not give value to,” Alaniz said at a news conference.
Alaniz said Ortiz, 35, believed law enforcement didn’t do enough to curb prostitution, so he was “doing a service” by killing the women.
A suspect can be charged with capital murder if he is suspected in more than one killing in the same scheme with an overarching motive, Alaniz said. Three of the women were shot to death, and the fourth was also shot but died of blunt force trauma.
Residents return to California town leveled by wildfire
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — Joyce and Jerry McLean sifted through twisted metal and broken glass Wednesday on the property where their mobile home once stood, hoping to find precious family possessions that might have survived the devastating California wildfire that leveled Paradise.
They were among hundreds of residents who were finally allowed back into neighborhoods on the east side of town a month after the blaze killed at least 85 people and destroyed about 14,000 homes.
The couple, wearing white hazmat suits and leather gloves, searched for his gold wedding band, a Bible that belonged to his great-grandmother and Christmas ornaments their son made when he was a boy.
“We didn’t own expensive things, but we had a lot of memory things,” said Joyce McLean, 73. “If I can find a little piece of his family or just a little piece of my son, I would be happy.”
Earlier in the day, a long line of cars waited in a cold drizzle at a checkpoint to enter areas where evacuation orders had been lifted for an area where 4,700 people once lived.
Julia Roberts finds life (and her roles) get better with age
NEW YORK (AP) — Julia Roberts is sitting on a couch in a Soho hotel when Lucas Hedges bursts in and begins frantically searching for his phone, sending pillows flying.
“This is what I say to Finn,” Roberts says, referencing one of her three children as she instructs her 21-year-old co-star. “Where did you go from here, honey?”
Roberts’ motherly instincts play a big part of her latest film, “Ben Is Back.” Written and directed by Peter Hedges (“Dan in Real Life,” and the father of Lucas), “Ben Is Back” is about a son (Lucas) home from rehab for Christmas. The short visit resurrects past demons and present temptations for Ben, testing his mother’s anxious balance of trust and suspicion.
It’s the second standout performance this fall for Roberts, who also stars in Amazon’s acclaimed conspiracy thriller “Homecoming” as a government-sponsored caseworker coaxing soldiers back into civilian life. It’s a more dramatic chapter for Roberts, the most quintessential of movie stars, who at 51 is stretching in new directions that are increasingly further afield from the frothier romantic comedies she built her career on.
“With age comes more complexity of possible parts,” Roberts said in a recent interview. “You know, I’m happy and I have fun at home, so it would take a lot for someone to say: ‘Look, you can play this part where you’re happy and have fun.’ Well, I just do that at home!”
Sea reefs and sunsets: Living Coral is color of the year
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s the color of underwater reefs hanging on for dear life. The sky at dusk. Some of the latest iPhones and the latest looks on the runways of Marc Jacobs and other top fashion designers. Living Coral has been chosen by the Pantone Color Institute as its 2019 color of the year.
Can a color be convivial? Laurie Pressman, the company’s vice president, considers this saturated orange base with a golden undertone not only warm and welcoming but versatile and life-affirming. It energizes with a softer edge than, say, its pastel and neon color cousins.
“With everything that’s going on today, we’re looking for those humanizing qualities because we’re seeing online life dehumanizing a lot of things,” Pressman told The Associated Press ahead of Wednesday’s annual color unveiling. “We’re looking toward those colors that bring nourishment and the comfort and familiarity that make us feel good. It’s not too heavy. We want to play. We want to be uplifted.”
But do we want to run toward this color of grandmothers? Pressman also sees a retro vibe to Living Coral, in the same way a softer version of the 2018 pick, Ultra Violet, is the shade of some gray heads when hair toners bring on a turn to purple.
“It’s the emotional nourishment. It’s a big hug,” she said of Living Coral.
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