TRUMP-INTERIOR SECRETARY-THE LATEST
The Latest: Zinke says ‘attacks’ led to his resignation
WASHINGTON (AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is blaming what he calls “vicious and politically motivated attacks” for his resignation from President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.
Zinke’s departure, set for Jan. 2, comes as the former Montana congressman faces numerous federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest — and shortly before Democrats take over the House, which could launch investigations of its own.
Trump says he plans to announce a replacement next week.
The Latest: UN climate talks agree on reporting emissions
KATOWICE, Poland (AP) — Officials from around the world have agreed upon a set of rules to govern the 2015 Paris climate accord after two weeks of U.N. climate talks in Poland.
Michal Kurtyka, a Polish official chairing the talks in Katowice, gaveled the deal Saturday after diplomats and ministers from almost 200 countries approved.
The U.N. talks were meant to provide firm guidelines for countries on how to transparently report their greenhouse gas emissions and their efforts to reduce them.
Scientists say emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide need to drop sharply by 2030 to prevent potentially catastrophic global warming.
The meeting postponed decisions on pledging more ambitious action to fight global warming and on regulating the market for international carbon emissions trading.
CHILD DEAD-BORDER PATROL
Family of migrant girl disputes official story on her death
Lawyers for the family of a 7-year-old girl who died while in U.S. Border Patrol custody say she did not suffer from a lack of food or water before being picked up by authorities.
Their account disputes earlier information released by U.S. officials, who said the girl had not had anything to eat or drink for days.
Border Patrol officials did not immediately comment Saturday.
Jakelin Caal and her father were taken into custody Dec. 6 near Lordsburg, New Mexico, by Border Patrol agents. She began vomiting and later stopped breathing while being transported to a Border Patrol station. She died at a hospital.
A statement from the family’s lawyers says her father, 29-year-old Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, made sure his daughter had food and water as they traveled through Mexico.
GUATEMALA-CHILD DEAD-BORDER PATROL
Girl who died fled intensely poor Guatemalan village
SAN ANTONIO SECORTEZ, Guatemala (AP) — Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin received her first pair of shoes several weeks ago, when her father said they would set out together for the United States, thousands of miles from the small indigenous community in Guatemala where she spent her days plodding through mud and surrounded by coconut trees.
Relative say the 7-year-old was excited about the possibility of a new life in another country.
Instead she died in a Texas hospital two days after being taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert.
The tiny wooden house she left behind has a straw roof, dirt floors and a fire pit for cooking. Her brothers are barefoot, their clothes in tatters. A heart constructed out of wood announces Jakelin’s death.
Texas judge rules health care overhaul unconstitutional
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A federal judge in Texas has ruled the Affordable Care Act “invalid” on the eve of the sign-up deadline for coverage next year.
In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled Friday that last year’s tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under “Obamacare” by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.
Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal.
The White House applauded O’Connor’s ruling, but said the law remains in place while appeals proceed. President Donald Trump tweeted that Congress should pass a new law.
Twenty Republican-led states brought the lawsuit. After Trump ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the health law, a coalition of ACA-supporting states took up the defense.
O’Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who previously blocked other Obama-era policies.
Watson leads Texans to 29-22 comeback win over Darnold, Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Deshaun Watson threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins with 2:15 left, lifting the Houston Texans to a 29-22 comeback victory over Sam Darnold and the New York Jets on Saturday night.
After Darnold and Jets took their first lead of the game on Elijah McGuire’s 2-yard touchdown run, Watson and the Texans (10-4) answered right back.
A holding call on cornerback Morris Claiborne on third down prolonged the drive, and Watson completed passes of 20 and 3 yards to Demaryius Thomas and 7 yards to Hopkins to get to New York’s 14. Watson then found Hopkins streaking down the left sideline and launched a pass that the receiver somehow came down with despite being tightly covered by Claiborne.
Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 40-yard field goal made it 29-22 with 54 seconds left. Darnold and the Jets (4-10) had one more opportunity to try to tie — or win — but Houston held on.
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The Latest: French official reports 8th protest death
PARIS (AP) — The French interior minister says that an eighth person has died since the start of a nationwide protest movement that began in mid-November over fuel tax hikes but has expanded to an array of issues.
Christophe Castaner said in a tweet on Saturday that the death occurred the previous night. He said that all traffic circles in France — some of which have been manned day and night by protesters — “should be freed.”
The tweet provided no details about the death, but suggested that it occurred at one of the traffic circle that dot the French countryside and where the majority of deaths have occurred.
The announcement of a new death followed a day of demonstrations around France for a fifth Saturday, though numbers of protesters were dramatically down.
BAYLOR FRATERNITY-SEXUAL ASSAULT
Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar
DALLAS (AP) — Local leaders say a plea deal allowing a former Baylor University fraternity president to serve no jail times highlights the outsized influence alumni play in shaping the criminal justice system in and around Waco.
Jacob Walter Anderson was accused of raping a woman outside a 2016 fraternity party. His controversial plea agreement allows him to avoid jail or being listed as a sex offender.
The judge, prosecutor and defense attorney in the case all have degrees from Baylor. Local leaders say those connections to the world’s largest Baptist university cast doubt on the handling of the case.
Community leaders say they don’t believe there was collusion in the case, but they say the outcome shows a failure of the legal system and reflects a culture of preferential treatment of people with status in the Baylor community.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE-ORTHODOX CHURCH-THE LATEST
The Latest: Ukraine Orthodox OKs break with Russian church
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian Orthodox leaders say they have approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head the new church.
The leader of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be Metropolitan Epiphanius, a 39-year-old bishop from the Kiev Patriarchate.
The vote, which was held Saturday at a closed-door synod in Kiev’s St. Sophia Cathedral, is certain to anger authorities in Russia.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has made the creation of a new church a key campaign issue, attended the synod as a non-voting observer.
Representatives of Ukraine’s three Orthodox Churches attended the synod, but only two from the branch loyal to Moscow showed up.
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