The Latest: Trump boasts of Israel support to Jewish group
LAS VEGAS (AP) — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says he wants the United States to enter into a mutual defense agreement with Israel to tell the world that “an attack against Israel would be considered an attack against the United States.”
Graham said at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas Saturday that it’s time for the U.S. to declare to the world how important its relationship is with Israel.
The Republican says America should tell Israel’s enemies that if they seek “to destroy the one and only Jewish state, you have to come through us to get them.”
Graham also suggested the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate would vote in a month or so to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights and force Democrats to go on the record on the issue.
ISRAELI ELECTION-AMERICAN JEWS
For American Jews, Trump is key figure in Israeli election
NEW YORK (AP) — Israel’s prime minister has aligned closely with Donald Trump in his battle for political survival ahead of Tuesday’s elections — a troubling tactic for the roughly 75% of American Jewish voters who lean Democratic.
Benjamin Netanyahu featured Trump in a recent campaign video, while Trump has made a series of policy moves viewed as strengthening Netanyahu in the eyes of Israeli voters, including relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
The American Jewish community — numbering 5.5 million to 6 million — leans Democratic overall but is not monolithic. Most older Jews remain supportive of Israel’s current Middle East policies, as does the roughly 10% of the Jewish population that is Orthodox.
But many liberal American Jews fear Netanyahu will push Israel’s government even further to the right if he wins.
Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will begin annexing part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank if he is re-elected to a fourth straight term. Such a move would be a sharp departure from long-standing Israeli government policy.
Netanyahu made the pledge in a television interview Saturday, three days before Israel’s election, in a bid to shore up his right-wing base. His comments were carried by Israeli websites.
Netanyahu mentioned the recent U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights as an achievement. Asked by Channel 12 about annexing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, he said that “we’re on the way” and that “the next term (in office) will be fateful.”
More than 600,000 Israelis live on war-won land, two-thirds of them in the West Bank.
OBIT-ERNEST ‘FRITZ’ HOLLINGS
Former US Sen. Ernest Hollings of South Carolina dead at 97
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former South Carolina Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, a moderate six-term Democrat who made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1984, has died. He was 97.
Family spokesman Andy Brack says Hollings died early Saturday.
Hollings also served a term as South Carolina governor in the early ’60s, gaining a reputation as a relative moderate on desegregation.
He won a special election to the Senate in 1966 and then won the first of six full terms in 1968.
Hollings began his quest for the presidency in April 1983 but dropped out the following March after dismal showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.
His more than 38 years of service in the Senate, from 1966 to January 2005, made him the eighth longest-serving senator in U.S. history.
US wants up to 2 years to identify kids separated families
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Trump administration wants up to two years to find potentially thousands of children who were separated from their parents at the border before a judge halted the practice last year.
The Justice Department said in a court filing late Friday in San Diego that it will take at least a year to review the cases of 47,000 unaccompanied children taken in custody between July 1, 2017 and June 25, 2018. The administration would begin by sifting through names for signs of likely separation — for example, children under 5.
The administration would provide information on separated families on a rolling basis to the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued to reunite families.
The ACLU says it strongly opposes a plan that could take two years.
Venezuelans take the streets as power-struggle intensifies
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Rival political factions are taking to the streets across Venezuela in a mounting struggle for control of the crisis-wracked nation.
Small groups of backers of opposition leader Juan Guaidó carrying Venezuelan flags and holding signs demanding liberty are gathering at concentration points Saturday to protest repeated power outages.
Guaidó is trying to oust President Nicolás Maduro, whose backers shared coffee as they gathered around a stage blasting music ahead of a march to the presidential palace.
It will be the first march Guaidó has led since Maduro loyalists stripped the opposition leader of legal protections he’s granted as a lawmaker, opening a path to prosecute and possibly arrest him for allegedly violating the constitution.
MORMON CONFERENCE-THE LATEST
Latest: Mormon leader says view on gay marriage unchanged
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A leader with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is reiterating the faith’s belief that marriage should be reserved for relationships between a man and a woman, while suggesting that gay members can still find a place in the religion.
Neil L. Andersen spoke Saturday during a church conference in Salt Lake City about the importance the faith’s belief about marriage and states that a person’s God-given gender is an essential part of a person’s eternal identity.
He acknowledged that not all church members fit within the proclamation’s boundaries.
The faith this week repealed policies that banned baptisms for children of gay parents while clarifying the religion’s doctrinal opposition to same-sex relationships wasn’t changing.
Missing boy’s grandmother hopes hoax will generate new leads
WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) — The grandmother of an Illinois boy missing since 2011 hopes publicity surrounding a hoax perpetrated by a man claiming to be her grandson will generate new leads in the case.
The Wooster Daily Record reports 71-year-old Linda Pitzen said she had mixed emotions when she learned Wednesday that Timmothy Pitzen might have been found. She said that while it gave her hope, it was “frightening” to wonder whether Timmothy, who went missing when he was 6, would remember his name after “supposedly being kept captive” for so long.
Authorities learned it was 23-year-old Brian Rini, of Ohio, who claimed to be 14-year-old Timmothy. Rini was charged Friday in federal court with making false statements.
Rini’s brother, Jonathan, told The Associated Press he has “deep sorrows” for Timmothy’s family.
HOUSE FIRE-BOXING LEGEND
Fire damages Texas home where boxing legend Johnson lived
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A Texas Gulf Coast home where boxing legend Jack Johnson once lived has been heavily damaged in a fire.
The blaze caused a wall to collapse in the vacant home Friday in Galveston. Fire Chief Mike Wisko told The Galveston County Daily News that the building was in the process of being renovated.
Johnson began his boxing career in Galveston, where a bronze statue of him stands in a park naming him as the Galveston Giant.
In 1908 he became the first black heavyweight world champion.
President Donald Trump posthumously pardoned Johnson last May for a 1913 conviction for violating the Mann Act by traveling with his white girlfriend. That law made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes.
FINAL FOUR-THE LATEST
NCAA Latest: Texas Tech beats Michigan State to reach final
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Texas Tech has earned a trip to Monday night’s championship game to face Virginia.
The Red Raiders beat Michigan State 61-51 in Saturday night’s second national semifinal.
Matt Mooney scored 22 points to lead Texas Tech, which is playing in its first Final Four.
Leading scorer Jarrett Culver was quiet for much of the night, but he scored six straight points to keep the Red Raiders in control after the Spartans had cut a 13-point deficit to 52-51 with 2:54 left.
Texas Tech shot 56 percent after halftime, while its trademark defensive edge locked down on Michigan State. The Spartans shot just 32 percent, including 8 of 24 in the second half.
Cassius Winston scored 16 points to lead the Spartans.
— Aaron Beard reporting from Minneapolis.
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