The Latest: Tariff agreement hailed by business groups
WASHINGTON (AP) — Mexico’s National Chamber of the Iron and Steel Industry is congratulating the country’s officials on the agreement reached with the United States on ending steel and aluminum tariffs.
The chamber says in a statement posted online that it considers the deal “a strong and very positive step for industry in the entire region.”
It also calls it “a great advance” toward ratifying the new trade deal between Mexico, the United States and Canada.
The chamber added Friday afternoon that, “As we have reiterated on diverse occasions, free and fair trade in the region favors the competitiveness of North America.”
Step by step: Democrats play the long game against Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — First came the sternly worded letters. Then the subpoenas. Now the votes to hold Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress.
As House Democrats plod ahead investigating President Donald Trump against unprecedented stonewalling, they’re pursuing a long-game strategy. It’s playing out in the committee rooms, the courthouse and the court of public opinion. And it’s taking time.
Some Democrats say the blockade by the administration is leaving them almost no choice but to open an impeachment inquiry — not necessarily to impeach Trump, but as part of a legal strategy to force the administration to comply with their requests for documents and testimony.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ratcheting up the pressure, but appears in no rush to get there.
The Latest: Missouri Democratic lawmakers slam abortion bill
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Democratic lawmakers are slamming a bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade says there’s no liberty in Missouri when government strips women of control of their own bodies. She says it’s “shameful” and “scary” that there are no exceptions for rape or incest, only for medical emergencies.
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Gina Walsh called the bill unconstitutional, although Republican supporters say it was drafted to withstand court challenges.
Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp says she believes the measure goes against the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. But she says she expects parts of the wide-ranging bill to be upheld.
OHIO STATE-TEAM DOCTOR-THE LATEST
The Latest: Report doesn’t say if abuse reported to police
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio State University official says it’s not clear whether anyone ever went to authorities to report a former doctor now accused of sexually abusing more than 150 male students.
Findings from a yearlong investigation released Friday say numerous university personnel knew about complaints of abuse that continued nearly 20 years into the late 1990s.
School Provost Bruce McPheron says the report doesn’t address whether anyone went to law enforcement at the time or was required to do so under the law back then.
University President Michael Drake says the report shows the university fell short of its responsibility to its students. He calls that regrettable and inexcusable.
Investigators found that at least 177 male students say they were sexually abused by the late Dr. Richard Strauss.
The above item has been corrected to show that it was Provost Bruce McPheron who said the report is unclear on whether anyone contacted law enforcement, not President Michael Drake.
PREGNANT WOMAN SLAIN-BABY TAKEN-THE LATEST
The Latest: Family: Pregnant woman’s slaying ‘a nightmare’
CHICAGO (AP) — A spokeswoman for the family a 19-year-old who was killed and whose baby was cut from her womb says what they’re going through is “a nightmare, a horror film.”
Julie Contreras is a spokeswoman for relatives of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, whose body was found in a garbage can this week. She spoke Friday before a court hearing for three people charged in the killing.
Contreras said the family wanted to see justice for Ochoa-Lopez, and for the defendants to be held without bail.
A short time later Judge Susana Ortiz denied bail for 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa, her 24-year-old daughter Desiree Figueroa and Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak. The Figueroas are charged with murder, while Bobak is charged with the concealment of a homicide.
The baby boy is not expected to survive.
Louisiana governor breaks with Democratic Party on abortion
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has repeatedly bucked national party leaders on abortion rights and is about to do it again.
Edwards is ready to sign legislation that would ban the procedure in his home state as early as six weeks of pregnancy, when the bill reaches his desk.
Louisiana’s proposal would prohibit abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill is awaiting one final vote in the state House.
Other conservative states are enacting similar laws that aim to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. But those abortion bans were backed by Republican governors.
Edwards’ anti-abortion stance makes him a rarity in his party and has provoked angry outcries within the Democratic party’s broader ranks across the country.
Polls open in Australian election; opposition tipped to win
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Polling stations have opened in eastern Australia in elections that are likely to deliver the nation’s sixth prime minister in as many years.
Opinion polls suggest the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition will lose its bid for a third three-year term at the election on Saturday and Scott Morrison will have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.
Morrison is the conservatives’ third prime minister since they were first elected in 2013. He replaced Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership ballot of government colleagues in August.
The center-left Labor Party opposition under its leader Bill Shorten has been campaigning hard on more ambitious targets to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
CALIFORNIA GAS LEAK
Report highlights utility failures in biggest US gas leak
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An investigation into the cause of the largest-known release of methane in the U.S. faults a California utility for the way it maintained its natural gas storage field before the massive 2015 blowout.
The report released Friday by the California Public Utilities Commission says Southern California Gas Co. didn’t assess its wells for disaster potential and didn’t investigate previous ruptures.
The report by Blade Energy Partners says the blowout that lasted nearly four months and was blamed for sickening thousands of Los Angeles residents could have been plugged sooner.
The utility highlights a finding that said new state regulations and practices address most, if not all, of the causes of the Aliso Canyon leak.
The report says a highly pressurized corroded pipe ruptured Oct. 23, 2015, and caused the blowout.
HOUSING SECRETARY-DINING SET
Carson’s office purchases broke law, government auditors say
WASHINGTON (AP) — Government auditors say Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson violated the law when his department spent more than $40,000 to purchase a dining set and a dishwasher for his office’s executive dining room.
In a report released Thursday, the Government Accountability Office says the agency failed to notify Congress before exceeding a $5,000 limit to furnish or make improvements to a presidential appointee’s office. The dining set cost more than $31,000 and the dishwasher cost nearly $9,000.
Carson told lawmakers last year that he was unaware of the pricey purchase and canceled it as soon as he learned about it in news reports. He also said he left furniture purchasing decisions to his wife.
Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island says Carson and his staff “showed a willful disregard for the appropriate use” of taxpayer dollars.
FIGHTER JET CRASH-THE LATEST
The Latest: Ammo from crashed F-16 safely destroyed
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have safely blown up live ammo from an F-16 fighter jet that crashed into a Southern California warehouse.
KABC-TV video shows the ordnance blowing up in huge clouds of dirt Friday afternoon after being buried in trenches at March Air Reserve Base.
A miles-long stretch of Interstate 215 was reopened and evacuations were cancelled for most nearby businesses.
Authorities have said the F-16 was on training maneuvers when it developed hydraulic problems Thursday. The pilot ejected and the plane hit the nearby warehouse.
The pilot is in good condition Friday. Thirteen other people, including first responders, were treated for minor injuries or exposure to debris. Three remain hospitalized.
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