CONGRESS-SAUDI ARABIA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Senate ends Saudi war aid, blames crown prince
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators have voted to recommend that the U.S. end its assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen and put the blame for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi squarely on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The votes are a direct challenge to both the longtime Middle East ally and President Donald Trump’s handling of the relationship.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who co-sponsored the Yemen resolution, calls the vote a “historic moment.”
The bipartisan votes came two months after the Saudi journalist’s slaying at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and after Trump persistently equivocated over who was responsible. U.S. intelligence officials concluded that bin Salman must have at least known of the plot, but Trump has repeatedly praised the kingdom.
The Latest: EU chief says May had no plan for help on Brexit
LONDON (AP) — EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to bring a clear plan for how the European Union should help her get the Brexit deal past her recalcitrant parliament.
Juncker says that the British “still need to say what they want instead of asking us what we want.”
He said early Tuesday after an EU summit that he will need answers “within a few weeks.”
Juncker says it sometimes is tough to fathom his own state of mind but adds that “it is even harder to understand the state of mind of the British” members of Parliament.
The Latest: Man killed in Strasbourg was market shooter
STRASBOURG, France (AP) — The office of the Paris prosecutor, which handles terrorism cases in France, says a man killed in Strasbourg in a shootout with police has been identified as the main suspect in a Christmas market attack that killed three people.
The man was identified as Charif Chekatt, a 29-year-old whom police had been searching for since Tuesday night’s attack near Strasbourg’s Christmas market, which also left 13 people wounded.
Earlier, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner had said police had been attempting to arrest a man fitting the suspect’s description when the man turned around and opened fire on them. Police responded, killing the shooter.
CHILD DEAD-BORDER PATROL
7-year-old immigrant girl dies after Border Patrol arrest
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Federal immigration authorities have confirmed that a 7-year-old girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her father last week died after being taken into the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.
The Washington Post reports the girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents near Lordsburg, New Mexico. The girl was from Guatemala and was traveling with a group of 163 people who approached agents to turn themselves in.
It’s unknown what happened to the girl during those eight hours before she started having seizures and was flown to an El Paso hospital.
In a statement, Customs and Border Protection said the girl had not eaten or consumed water in several days.
The agency did not provide the Associated Press with the statement it gave to the Post, despite repeated requests.
The Latest: Rebel Dem: Fight to block Pelosi was a challenge
WASHINGTON (AP) — A leader of dissident Democrats who struck a deal opening the door for Nancy Pelosi to become House speaker says his group had the votes to block her but faced factors that weakened them.
Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter says Pelosi proved her popularity when Democrats overwhelmingly nominated her for the speaker’s post last month. He notes that the insurgents produced no challenger to Pelosi.
Perlmutter tells reporters he encountered supporters who didn’t want a chaotic opening to the new Congress, which a battle over Pelosi would cause. The House elects its speaker when the new Congress begins Jan. 3.
Perlmutter says Pelosi contacted him around Thanksgiving. He says he and Pelosi are friends and they had a dozen conversations before she and the rebels struck their deal Wednesday.
The Latest: Accused Russian secret agent makes plea deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Russian lawmaker says he’s convinced that the Russian woman who’s pleaded guilty to being a secret agent in the United States has done so under pressure.
Leonid Slutsky is chairman of the Russian State Duma’s foreign affairs committee. He tells Russian news agencies that the charges against 30-year-old Maria Butina were trumped up and that she’s fallen victim to what he calls “political inquisition.”
Slutsky says he’s convinced that she was pressured to confess.
He says: “They broke her down. Anyone would break down in circumstances like that.”
Butina’s time in prison has included solitary confinement.
BOMB THREATS HOAX-THE LATEST
The Latest: Bomb threat hoax targets US schools, businesses
NEW YORK (AP) — Businesses and schools across the U.S. were evacuated because of a bomb threat hoax.
Officials in Atlanta, New Orleans, and Anchorage, Alaska, say businesses received emailed bomb threats Thursday that were part of what they believe is a nationwide hoax.
Police are working with the FBI to investigate every threat.
VIRGIN GALACTIC-THE LATEST
The Latest: Tourism rocket ship reaches space on test flight
MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) — Virgin Galactic says its tourism spaceship has climbed more than 50 miles high, which the company considers the boundary of space.
Virgin Space Ship Unity was released from a carrier aircraft over California’s Mojave Desert early Thursday and ignited its rocket engine.
The spacecraft with two test pilots at the controls quickly hurtled upward and out of sight from viewers on the ground.
Mission official Enrico Palermo says it reached an altitude of 51 miles (82 kilometers) before beginning its gliding descent. It landed minutes later.
The company plans to eventually take paying passengers on short trips to space.
MUSIC-ROCK HALL OF FAME
Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame
NEW YORK (AP) — Janet Jackson will join her brother Michael as a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The hall says she’s one of seven new members, including Stevie Nicks and the top fan vote-getter, Def Leppard.
The hall says Thursday that Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in next spring at the 34th induction ceremony. It will be held March 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Jackson’s induction comes after her third time as nominee and many saw it as overdue, given her prowess as a hitmaker.
Nicks is already in the hall as a member of Fleetwood Mac. She, Def Leppard and Roxy Music were voted in as first-time nominees.
The Latest: Florida executes man for woman’s 1992 killing
STARKE, Fla. (AP) — A man convicted of fatally beating and stabbing a South Florida woman 26 years ago during a burglary has been executed.
Authorities say 55-year-old Jose Antonio Jimenez was pronounced dead at 9:48 p.m. Thursday after a lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke.
Jimenez was convicted of the October 1992 killing of 63-year-old Phyllis Minas in her North Miami apartment.
Authorities say Jimenez was burglarizing Minas’ apartment when she came home and surprised him. Investigators said Minas, a longtime employee of the Miami-Dade Court Clerk’s office, was stabbed eight times.
Authorities say Jimenez is the 28th inmate executed in Florida since Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011. That’s the most of any Florida governor since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
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