EMPIRE CAST MEMBER-ATTACK-THE LATEST The Latest: Fox ‘gratified’ that charges dropped CHICAGO (AP) — Fox Television, which produces “Empire,” says it is “gratified” that all charges against actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped. In one-sentence…
EMPIRE CAST MEMBER-ATTACK-THE LATEST
The Latest: Fox ‘gratified’ that charges dropped
CHICAGO (AP) — Fox Television, which produces “Empire,” says it is “gratified” that all charges against actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped.
In one-sentence statement, Fox says: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
Smollett’s character was removed from the final two episodes of this season in the wake of his arrest in February on charges that he staged a racist, anti-gay attack on himself.
Smollett, who is black and gay, plays a gay character on the show that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.
CONGRESS-RUSSIA PROBE-THE LATEST
The Latest: Official: Barr’s review of report to take weeks
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Justice Department official says it will take Attorney General William Barr “weeks, not months,” to finish reviewing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report and make a version available for the public.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday to discuss the Justice Department’s plans.
The official also said there were no plans for the department to give the report to the White House.
Six House Democratic committee chairmen on Monday asked Barr to turn over the report by April 2, though it’s unclear if the Justice Department will make that deadline.
Barr has said previously that he wants to make as much public as he can under the law, though grand jury material is not expected to be released.
— By Eric Tucker
The Latest: Israeli aircraft bomb Hamas militant targets
JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian witnesses say Israeli aircraft are striking Hamas militant targets in the southern Gaza Strip.
The late-night strikes on Tuesday follow a rocket launched from Gaza that set off air-raid sirens in southern Israel and sent residents rushing to bomb shelters before the rocket fell in open ground.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
Tuesday evening’s rocket strike and airstrikes ended a brief lull that had prevailed for most of the day after an overnight exchange of heavy fire.
The cross-border fighting was triggered by a rocket fired early Monday from Gaza that slammed into a house in central Israel and wounded seven people.
House Democrats to unveil Affordable Care Act rescue package
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats backed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (puh-LOH’-see) are unveiling legislation to shore up the Affordable Care Act, trying to deliver on campaign promises about health care.
But it’s also a messaging shift as Democrats want to show they care about policy issues beyond special counsel Robert Mueller’s (MUHL’-urz) Russia report.
Pelosi’s office says the bill being unveiled Tuesday would make more middle-class people eligible for subsidized health insurance while increasing aid for those with lower incomes who already qualify.
The bill would provide money to help health insurers pay for their costliest patients and restore advertising and outreach budgets slashed by President Donald Trump’s administration.
The bill will get a vote in the House, but as a package it has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.
Ethiopian official says plane crash report due this week
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An Ethiopian official said a preliminary report on the plane crash that killed 157 people on March 10 will be made public later this week.
Mussie Yiheyis, spokesman for the government’s transport ministry, told The Associated Press Tuesday that a date has not yet been set but it will be released later this week. He said that a high ranking government official will announce the preliminary result.
The final report may take months to complete but a preliminary report may be released “anytime soon,” said the spokesman.
On Monday, Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the pilots of the plane that crashed on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, had trained on “all appropriate simulators,” rejecting reports that they had not been adequately prepared to handle the new aircraft.
Southwest 737 Max makes emergency landing in Orlando
The Federal Aviation Administration says a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet made a safe emergency landing Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, after experiencing an apparent engine problem.
The crew declared an emergency after taking off from Orlando International Airport around 2:50 p.m., and landed the plane safely. No passengers were on board. The aircraft was being ferried to Victorville, California, where Southwest is storing the airplanes.
The 737 Max was grounded in the U.S. March 13 after a deadly crash involving a Max on March 10. It was the second fatal crash involving the airplane. U.S. Airlines are allowed to shuttle the planes but cannot carry passengers.
The FAA says it’s investigating but it appears the emergency was not related to anti-stall software suspected in the two fatal crashes.
TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY-THE LATEST
The Latest: House unable to override Trump veto on border
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-led House has failed to override President Donald Trump’s first veto, salvaging his effort to steer billions of extra dollars to erecting barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Lawmakers voted 248-181 to overturn Trump’s veto, but that fell 38 votes shy of the required two-thirds margin
Tuesday’s vote bolsters Trump’s drive to build a wall along the boundary with Mexico, a hallmark of his 2016 presidential campaign and a priority of his presidency.
Just 14 Republicans joined all voting Democrats in Tuesday’s futile effort to void Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the Southwest border.
Save The Children: 7 killed in airstrike on Yemen hospital
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Save The Children says a hospital it supports in Yemen has been hit by an airstrike and seven people have been killed.
The humanitarian organization said in a statement that four of those killed were children. It said eight people were wounded and two adults are unaccounted for.
Save The Children said a missile struck a gasoline station near the entrance to Ritaf rural hospital, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the city of Saada in northwestern Yemen at 9:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday.
It said: “The missile was said to have landed within 50 meters of the facility’s main building.”
The organization said the hospital had open been open for half an hour and many patients and staff were arriving on a busy morning.
Oklahoma attorney general sets announcement on opioid suit
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says he will announce a “breaking development” in the state’s lawsuit against the nation’s leading manufacturers of opioid pain medications.
Hunter said in a statement that he will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Tulsa, but he gave no further details.
The move comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied a request from drugmakers on Monday to postpone the start of what is expected to be the first state trial in lawsuits accusing the companies of fueling an opioid epidemic.
Oklahoma sued 13 opioid manufacturers in 2017, alleging they fraudulently engaged in marketing campaigns that led to thousands of overdose addictions and deaths.
State officials have said that since 2009, more Oklahoma residents have died from opioid-related deaths than in vehicle crashes.
MICHAEL AVENATTI-ARREST-THE LATEST
The Latest: A day after his arrest, Avenatti hammers Nike
NEW YORK (AP) — A day after he was charged with trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike, attorney Michael Avenatti has launched a new public attack on the company.
In a string of tweets Tuesday, the lawyer accused Nike of “trying to divert attention from their own crimes.”
Prosecutors say Avenatti approached Nike last week and threatened to expose rules violations involving an amateur youth team sponsored by the company unless it paid him up to $25 million.
Nike wouldn’t answer questions but said it has been cooperating with a federal investigation into NCAA basketball for a year.
In his tweets, Avenatti denied that the company was cooperating, “unless you count lying in response to subpoenas and withholding documents as ‘cooperating.'”
He said “Nike’s attempt at diversion and cover-up will fail miserably.”
Avenatti rose to prominence representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against President Donald Trump.