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

Hong Kong police begin to clear streets of protesters

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police and protesters faced off Monday as authorities began trying to clear the streets of a few hundred who remained near the city government headquarters after massive demonstrations that stretched deep into the night before.

The police asked for cooperation in clearing the road but said the protesters could stay on the sidewalks. Protesters, many in masks and other gear to guard against possible use of tear gas, responded with chants, some kneeling in front of the officers. The move came after activists rejected an apology from the city’s top leader for her handling of legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony.

Groups of police, most in normal uniforms not riot gear, sought to clear the roads of metal and plastic barricades to enable traffic to pass through. In some places, the protesters quickly moved to put them back to block traffic.

Hundreds of protesters were sitting or lying along a main road through downtown, but they were scattered over a relatively wide area.

Activists called on Hong Kong residents to boycott classes and work, though it was unclear how many might heed that call.

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Massive blackout hits tens of millions in South America

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A massive blackout left tens of millions of people without electricity in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay on Sunday in what the Argentine president called an “unprecedented” failure in the countries’ power grid.

Authorities were working frantically to restore power, and by the evening electricity had returned to 98 percent of Argentina, according to state news agency Telam. Power also had been restored to most of Uruguay’s 3 million people as well as to people in neighboring Paraguay.

On Sunday morning, Argentine voters were forced to cast ballots by the light of cellphones in gubernatorial elections. Public transportation was halted, shops closed and patients dependent on home medical equipment were urged to go to hospitals with generators.

“This is an unprecedented case that will be investigated thoroughly,” Argentine President Mauricio Macri said on Twitter.

Argentina’s power grid is generally known for being in a state of disrepair, with substations and cables that were insufficiently upgraded as power rates remained largely frozen for years.

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Record number of African migrants coming to Mexican border

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Undaunted by a dangerous journey over thousands of miles, people fleeing economic hardship and human rights abuses in African countries are coming to the U.S.-Mexico border in unprecedented numbers, surprising Border Patrol agents more accustomed to Spanish-speaking migrants.

Officials in Texas and even Maine are scrambling to absorb the sharp increase in African migrants. They are coming to America after flying across the Atlantic Ocean to South America and then embarking on an often harrowing overland journey.

In one recent week, agents in the Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector stopped more than 500 African migrants found walking in separate groups along the arid land after splashing across the Rio Grande, children in tow.

That is more than double the total of 211 African migrants who were detained by the Border Patrol along the entire 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) U.S.-Mexico border in the 2018 fiscal year.

“We are continuing to see a rise in apprehensions of immigrants from countries not normally encountered in our area,” said Raul Ortiz, head of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector.

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4 years in, Trump fondly recalls Trump Tower campaign launch

NEW YORK (AP) — It was the escalator ride that would change history.

Four years ago on Sunday, Donald Trump descended through the pink marble and brass atrium of Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for president , the first step on a journey few believed would take him all the way to the White House.

It turns out the 2015 event might not have happened, at least not on June 16. And the over-the-top staging that featured a crowd including paid actors could have been even more theatrical if one early idea hadn’t been scrapped.

(Trump nixed suggestions to feature a live elephant. “Too political,” he decided.)

Now, the president who loves to reminisce about that “famous” Trump Tower moment is trying to recreate the magic as he formally launches his re-election bid Tuesday in Florida. Four years in, Trump still is echoing much of the same divisive rhetoric he let fly when he ditched the speech prepared for that original campaign kickoff.

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CEO: Boeing made mistake in handling warning-system problem

PARIS (AP) — The chief executive of Boeing said the company made a “mistake” in handling a problematic cockpit warning system in its 737 Max jets before two crashes killed 346 people, and he promised transparency as the aircraft maker works to get the grounded plane back in flight.

Speaking before the industry-wide Paris Air Show, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told reporters Boeing’s communication with regulators, customers and the public “was not consistent. And that’s unacceptable.”

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has faulted Boeing for not telling regulators for more than a year that a safety indicator in the cockpit of the top-selling plane didn’t work as intended.

Boeing and the FAA have said the warning light wasn’t critical for flight safety.

It is not clear whether either crash could have been prevented if the cockpit alert had been working properly. Boeing says all its planes, including the Max, give pilots all the flight information — including speed, altitude and engine performance — that they need to fly safely.

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LAPD investigates officer’s actions in Costco shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Police Department is gathering evidence and video footage in an administrative investigation into an off-duty officer who shot and killed a man authorities say attacked him inside a Southern California Costco Wholesale warehouse store.

Authorities remained tight-lipped Sunday, not responding to requests for comment about what provoked the Friday night confrontation and whether anyone but the officer was armed. Two others were critically injured in the shooting in Corona, which is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

The officer opened fire after Kenneth French, 32, of Riverside, “assaulted” him “without provocation” as the officer held his young child, Corona police said Saturday.

Bullets struck French and two of his family members, according to police. The officer was the only person who fired shots in the store, police said.

Rick Shureih, French’s cousin, told The Press-Enterprise that he was a “gentle giant” who was mentally disabled.

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Saudi crown prince accuses rival Iran of tanker attacks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in remarks published Sunday that the kingdom will not hesitate to confront Iranian threats to its security. He joined the U.S. in accusing its bitter rival Iran of being behind the attacks on two oil tankers traveling near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital trade route for Arabian energy exports.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf have escalated since the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier strike group and other military assets to the region in what it says is defensive posturing against alleged Iranian threats. The crisis takes root in the Trump Administration’s decision to re-impose punishing economic sanctions on Tehran and its oil exports, after unilaterally withdrawing the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The U.S. alleges Iran used limpet mines to target the tankers on Thursday, pointing to black-and-white footage it captured that American officials describe as an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel removing an unexploded mine from the Japanese-operated tanker Kokuka Courageous.

The Japanese tanker’s crewmembers appeared to contradict the assertion that mines were used. They described “flying objects” as having targeted the vessel.

In his first public comments regarding the attacks, the powerful Saudi prince, who is also defense minister and oversees all major levers of power in the country, said the incident “confirms the importance of our demands of the international community to take a decisive stance” against Iran’s behavior.

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Trump calls newspaper report on Russia power grid ‘treason’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has lashed out at The New York Times, saying it engaged in a “virtual act of treason” for a story that said the U.S. was ramping up its cyber-intrusions into Russia’s power grid.

The Times reported on Saturday that the U.S. has bored into Russian utility systems in an escalating campaign meant to deter future cyber activity by Russia. It comes as the U.S. looks for new ways to punish Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and prevent a recurrence.

The Times, in its official public relations account, called Trump’s accusation “dangerous” and said it had told officials about the story before it was published and no security issues were raised.

The newspaper, basing its reports on three months of interviews with current and former government officials, said this campaign was conducted under new cyber authorities granted by Trump and Congress. But it also reported that two administration officials believed the president had not been briefed in detail, fearing he might countermand the action against Russia or reveal sensitive information to foreign officials.

In a pair of tweets sent Saturday night, Trump asserted the story wasn’t true and denounced reporters as “cowards.”

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Woodland denies history with US Open title at Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Gary Woodland denied Brooks Koepka’s bold bid at history and made U.S. Open memories of his own Sunday with two clutch shots, a birdie putt on the final hole and that silver trophy in his hands at Pebble Beach.

Yeah, he’s got this.

Koepka, trying to match a 114-year-old record with his third straight U.S. Open, kept the pressure on until the very end. Woodland was just as unflappable and got better with each big moment he faced, whether it was a 3-wood from 263 yards or a lob wedge from the putting surface that will take its place with other big moments on the 17th hole of Pebble Beach.

Needing three putts to win, Woodland finished in style with a 30-foot birdie putt for a 2-under 69, giving him the lowest 72-hole score in six U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach and a three-shot victory over Koepka. He raised both arms in the air to salute the crowd, turned toward the Pacific and slammed down his fist.

“I never let myself get ahead,” Woodland said. “Once that went in, it all came out of me. It’s special to finish it off here at Pebble Beach.”

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Israel moves to name Golan settlement after Trump

RAMAT TRUMP, Golan Heights (AP) — The Trump name graces apartment towers, hotels and golf courses. Now it is the namesake of a tiny Israeli settlement in the Israel-controlled Golan Heights.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet convened in this hamlet Sunday to inaugurate a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in a gesture of appreciation for the U.S. leader’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

The settlement isn’t exactly new. Currently known as Bruchim, it is over 30 years old and has a population of 10 people.

Israel is hoping the rebranded “Ramat Trump,” Hebrew for “Trump Heights,” will encourage a wave of residents to vastly expand it.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, who attended Sunday’s ceremony. Noting that Trump celebrated his birthday on Friday, he said: “I can’t think of a more appropriate and a more beautiful birthday present.”

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