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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Strong storms in US South kill at least 8 and injure dozens

Powerful storms swept across the South on Sunday after unleashing suspected tornadoes and flooding that killed at least eight people, injured dozens and flattened much of a Texas town. Three children were among the dead.

Nearly 90,000 customers were without electricity in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Georgia as of midday Sunday, according to www.poweroutage.us as the severe weather left a trail of destruction.

Two children were killed on a back road in East Texas when a pine tree fell onto the car in which they were riding in a severe thunderstorm Saturday near Pollok, about 150 miles (241 kilometers) southeast of Dallas.

The tree “flattened the car like a pancake,” said Capt. Alton Lenderman of the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office. The children, ages 8 and 3, were dead at the scene, while both parents, who were in the front seat, escaped injury, he said.

At least one person was killed and about two dozen others were injured after a suspected tornado struck the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in East Texas during a Native American cultural event in Alto, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) southeast of Dallas. Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis said the fatality that was reported was of a woman who died of her critical injuries.

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Tiger Woods makes Masters his 15th and most improbable major

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods blazing to victory in his Sunday red at the Masters, a scene once so familiar, was never more stunning.

It was only two years ago at Augusta National that Woods needed a nerve block just to hobble upstairs to the Champions Dinner, unsure he would ever play another round of golf. He had a fourth back surgery with hopes of simply playing with his two children, not chasing Jack Nicklaus in history.

And now it’s all pieced back together — his life, his back, even golf.

A fallen hero, a crippled star, Woods is a Masters champion again.

He won his fifth green jacket, his 15th major, but never with this much raw emotion. The most ferocious fist pump was when he walked off the 18th green, scooped up 10-year-old son Charlie, and embraced his mother and his 11-year-old daughter Sam.

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Omar cites more death threats against her since Trump tweet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Ilhan Omar says she’s faced increased death threats since President Donald Trump spread around a video that purports to show her being dismissive of the 2001 terrorist attacks. “This is endangering lives,” she said, accusing Trump of fomenting right-wing extremism. “It has to stop.”

Her statement late Sunday followed an announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she has taken steps to ensure the safety of the Minnesota Democrat and the speaker’s call for Trump to take down the video.

Soon after Pelosi’s statement, the video disappeared as a pinned tweet at the top of Trump’s Twitter feed, but it was not deleted.

Pelosi was among Democrats who had criticized Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence against the Muslim lawmaker. An upstate New York man recently was charged with making death threats against her.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump earlier Sunday, saying the president has a duty to highlight Omar’s history of making comments that others deem anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive and that he wished no “ill will” upon the first-term lawmaker.

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APNewsBreak: Trump builds unmatched reelection war chest

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is set to report that it raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according to figures it provided to The Associated Press.

The haul brings the campaign’s cash on hand to $40.8 million, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in a campaign.

The Trump campaign said nearly 99% of its donations were of $200 or less, with an average donation of $34.26.

Trump’s fundraising ability was matched by the Republican National Committee, which brought in $45.8 million in the first quarter — its best non-election year total. Combined, the pro-Trump effort is reporting $82 million in the bank, with $40.8 million belonging to the campaign alone.

Trump formally launched his reelection effort just hours after taking office in 2017, earlier than any incumbent has in prior years. By contrast, former President Barack Obama launched his 2012 effort in April 2011 and had under $2 million on hand at this point in the campaign.

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Removal of fuel in pool at Fukushima’s melted reactor begins

TOKYO (AP) — The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has begun removing fuel from a cooling pool at one of three reactors that melted down in the 2011 disaster, a milestone in the decades-long process to decommission the plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday that workers started removing the first of 566 used and unused fuel units stored in the pool at Unit 3. The fuel units in the pool located high up in reactor buildings are intact despite the disaster, but the pools are not enclosed, so removing the units to safer ground is crucial to avoid disaster in case of another major quake.

TEPCO says the removal at Unit 3 would take two years, followed by the two other reactors where about 1,000 fuel units remain in the storage pools.

Removing fuel units from the cooling pools comes ahead of the real challenge of removing melted fuel from inside the reactors, but details of how that might be done are still largely unknown. Removing the fuel in the cooling pools was delayed five years by mishaps, high radiation and radioactive debris from an explosion that occurred at the time of the reactor meltdown, underscoring the difficulties that remain.

Workers are remotely operating a crane built underneath a jelly roll-shaped roof cover to raise the fuel from a storage rack in the pool and place it into a protective cask. The whole process occurs underwater to prevent radiation leaks. Each cask will be filled with seven fuel units, then lifted from the pool and lowered to a truck that will transport the cask to a safer cooling pool elsewhere at the plant.

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US Secretary of State visits Venezuelan migrants in Colombia

CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Venezuelan migrants in Colombia on Sunday as he wrapped up a four-nation tour of South America aimed at pressuring Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro.

Pompeo went to a migrant center in the border town of Cucuta with Colombian President Ivan Duque. Not far away, Venezuelan security forces with riot gear stood in the middle of the Simon Bolivar international bridge separating the two countries.

The migrant center has been the first stop for some 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled hyperinflation, severe shortages of food and medicine, and political upheaval in their homeland.

Pompeo described a “very moving” encounter with a Venezuelan mother named Geraldine who crossed into Colombia and was torn about abandoning her country even as she had to scavenge for diapers, medicine and other basic goods she could no longer find in Venezuela.

Mimicking President Ronald Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall” speech in Berlin at the end of the Cold War, Pompeo urged Maduro to lift a military blockade preventing the entry of tons of humanitarian aid that has sat for months on Venezuela’s borders with Colombia, Brazil and the Dutch Caribbean.

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White House: Migrants to sanctuary cities not a top choice

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump wants to explore a twice-rejected proposal to send migrants to “sanctuary cities,” but that is not the preferred solution to fix the straining immigration system, the White House said Sunday.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was one of many options, though she hoped Congress would work with the president on a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

The Trump administration is dealing with an ever-increasing number of Central American migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, an influx that has pushed the immigration system to the breaking point.

Laws make it hard to quickly return Central Americans, and many of them spend years in the U.S. waiting for their immigration cases to play out. Others claim asylum and wait just as long, living and working in the U.S. as they wait.

“Sanctuary cities” are mostly left-leaning places such as New York City and San Francisco where laws prohibit local police and correction officers from working with immigration officials to help arrest and deport people living here illegally.

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Study finds diabetes drug may prevent, slow kidney disease

A drug that’s used to help control blood sugar in people with diabetes has now been shown to help prevent or slow kidney disease, which causes millions of deaths each year and requires hundreds of thousands of people to use dialysis to stay alive.

Doctors say it’s hard to overstate the importance of this study, and what it means for curbing this problem, which is growing because of the obesity epidemic.

The study tested Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ drug Invokana. Results were discussed Sunday at a medical meeting in Australia and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

About 30 million Americans and more than 420 million people worldwide have diabetes , and most cases are Type 2, the kind tied to obesity. It occurs when the body can’t make enough or properly use insulin, which turns food into energy.

This can damage the kidneys over time, causing disease and ultimately, failure. In the U.S., it’s responsible for nearly half a million people needing dialysis, and for thousands of kidney transplants each year.

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NRA has history of promoting gun rights outside US

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The recent revelation that National Rifle Association representatives had met with Australian politicians to discuss talking points after a mass shooting generated outrage from various politicians.

The reality is that the NRA has been exerting its influence on gun debates outside the U.S. for a number of years, exporting its firebrand rhetoric and belief that more guns will lead to less crime.

The lobbying group has sought sway at the United Nations to make it easier to sell American guns overseas and has on more than one occasion guided gun-rights groups in Brazil, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. It advised gun activists in Russia, entanglements that in recent years made the NRA vulnerable to allegations it allowed alleged Russian operatives to use the organization to influence American politics.

While American gun rights are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution — something that doesn’t translate to most countries around the world — the group’s track record of aggressively shaping the debate has nevertheless turned it into the go-to group for other gun-rights activists outside the U.S.

There are several reasons why the NRA doesn’t confine itself to the U.S.

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For many ‘Thrones’ fans, season 8 is just the first ending

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Devoted “Game of Thrones” fans who’ve watched and re-watched all 73 episodes of the HBO series, and read and reread all 4,000 pages of the books by George R.R. Martin, will at long last get the ending they’ve craved with the series’ eighth and final season that starts Sunday.

But will it be the “real” ending?

The plotlines of the show have long since shot past what’s in Martin’s books, whose own finale may be many years away. While the endings will likely be similar, Martin, the master of this universe, could take a very different path to get there, making the coming end of the HBO show with its showdown between the humans of Westeros and the invading White Walkers possibly just a preview.

For some it all just means twice the fun.

“It doesn’t bother me. I don’t think they need to be one and the same,” said Adonis Voulgaris, a fan of both formats who lives in San Francisco. “For me, it just means more content I get to immerse myself in.”

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