The Latest: Sen Warner: ‘Sexual assault is never acceptable’
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is holding off from directly calling for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s resignation after two women accused Fairfax of sexual assault. But Warner says the allegations against his fellow Democrat are serious and Fairfax should resign if they are true.
“Sexual assault is never acceptable, and survivors of violence and harassment deserve to be heard. If these allegations concerning Lieutenant Governor Fairfax are accurate, then they are clearly disqualifying,” Warner said in a statement Friday evening.
Many Virginia Democratic officials have called for Fairfax to resign immediately.
A second woman came forward Friday to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault. She said the attack took place when she and Fairfax were students at Duke University.
Earlier this week, California college professor Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 in a Boston hotel room during the Democratic National Convention.
Fairfax has denied wrongdoing, called for investigations and said he won’t resign.
JEFF BEZOS-NATIONAL ENQUIRER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Prosecutors probing tabloid’s Bezos story
NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors in New York are probing whether the National Enquirer’s parent company violated a cooperation agreement in its handling of the story regarding Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Bezos claims American Media Inc. threatened to publish intimate photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the tabloid obtained his private exchanges with his mistress.
Two people familiar with the matter tell The Associated Press that prosecutors are looking at whether an email exchange Bezos published shows AMI violated an agreement it struck to avoid prosecution for alleged campaign finance violations. The people were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The agreement requires AMI commit no crimes for three years. AMI did not respond to requests for comment.
— Jim Mustian and Michael R. Sisak
Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion clinic law
WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court has stopped Louisiana from enforcing new regulations on abortion clinics in a test of the conservative court’s views on abortion rights.
The justices said by a 5-4 vote late Thursday that they will not allow the state to put into effect a law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in putting a hold on the law, pending a full review of the case.
President Donald Trump’s two Supreme Court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were among the four conservative members of the court who would have allowed the law to take effect.
TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-WHITAKER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Whitaker won’t answer ‘witch hunt’ question
WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has declined to answer a question about whether special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is a “witch hunt.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly called the Russia probe a “witch hunt.” Asked by Democratic Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen on Friday if he also thought it was, Whitaker declined to answer, citing the ongoing investigation.
Asked by Cohen if he would stop a “witch hunt,” Whitaker said it would be “inappropriate” to answer that question. Whitaker oversees the Mueller probe.
Trump’s permanent pick for attorney general, William Barr, has said he does not believe Mueller would be involved in a “witch hunt.”
Democrats are eager to press acting Whitaker during his first testimony to Congress on his interactions with Trump and his oversight of the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
The Latest: Physician says Trump is ‘in very good health’
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s physician says the president is “in very good health” and is likely to remain so for the duration of his presidency and beyond.
Dr. Sean Conley says that over the course of a four-hour medical check-up Friday, he supervised a panel of 11 board-certified specialists in examining Trump.
Conley adds that the 72-year-old president did not undergo any procedures requiring sedation or anesthesia.
This is Trump’s second health checkup since becoming president. It took place at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Conley did not provide details about the examination, such as weight, heart rate or blood pressure.
Modern-day presidents have undergone regular exams to catch any potential problems but also to assure the public they are fit for office.
People of color angry, not surprised, by blackface scandal
DETROIT (AP) — From police shootings of black men, to white supremacy rallies and the removal Confederate Civil War monuments, the nation seems to lurch from one racial controversy to another. The latest is blackface.
Many people of color are angry and frustrated, but not surprised.
Florida’s secretary of state resigned after a blackface photo surfaced. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is dealing with a similar scandal after a photo printed in his medical school yearbook showed a person in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted he wore blackface too.
Black Detroit barber Thomas Carter says “hate is taught” and people are not born “racist.” He adds that the politics of race and blackface are discussed daily in the shop where he works.
Female tiger at London zoo killed by prospective mate
LONDON (AP) — London Zoo says one of its female Sumatran tigers has been killed by a potential mate while the two animals were being introduced.
The zoo says 10-year-old Melati died Friday during her first encounter with Asim, a 7-year-old male.
The two tigers had been kept in adjoining enclosures for 10 days so they could get used to one another, but their first interaction “quickly escalated into a more aggressive interaction.”
The zoo says keepers intervened with loud noises, flares and alarms but were too late to save Melati. It says staff are “devastated by the loss of Melati, and we are heartbroken by this turn of events.”
Zoologists had hoped the two tigers would breed as part of a Europe-wide tiger conservation program for the endangered Sumatran subspecies.
Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist undergoes open heart surgery
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lindsey Buckingham underwent open heart surgery that left the former Fleetwood Mac guitarist with damaged vocal cords.
Buckingham’s publicist said in a statement Friday that he experienced chest pains last week and was taken to the hospital where he had the life-saving procedure. Buckingham is recovering at home with his family.
The 69-year-old rocker’s wife, Kristen Buckingham, said on social media that it’s unclear if the damage after the surgery is permanent. She says the past year has been stressful, but she is thankful her husband is still alive.
Last year, Buckingham sued Fleetwood Mac after being kicked off the band’s new tour. The guitarist-songwriter is seeking his share of the tour income because he felt he was able to perform.
Fleetwood Mac disputes the allegations made by Buckingham.
Manfred: No DH or draft changes likely for 2019
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says management is focused on pace-of-game changes for 2019 and bolder ideas suggested by players such as expanding the designated hitter to the National League are too complicated to be put in place for this season.
Speaking Friday at the end of an owners’ meeting, Manfred says he is encouraged the players’ association responded to management’s proposal for a pitch clock and a three-batter minimum for a relief pitcher unless an inning ends.
Larger issues such as the DH and changes to the amateur draft will be for talks to determine the next collective bargaining agreement. The current deal expires at the end of the 2021 season, but MLB would be open to major changes as part of an extension of the current deal.
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The Latest: Thai king vetoes sister’s election candidacy
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s king has issued an order stating that no member of the royal family should be involved in politics, quashing a bid by his older sister to run for prime minister in next month’s elections.
An order issued by King Maha Vajiralongkorn read out on national television late Friday night said his sister’s candidacy was inappropriate and violated the constitution’s intent.
Princess Ubolratana Mahidol’s nomination earlier Friday by an opposition party had upended politics in Thailand and threatened the palace’s decades-long tradition of eschewing political involvement.
Many Thais had assumed that the princess would not have sought the nomination without her brother’s blessing and were surprised that he would have supported her association with a party that is considered unsympathetic to the monarchy.
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