BUDGET BATTLE-THE LATEST
The Latest: McConnell promises budget vote before recess
WASHINGTON (AP) — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising the Senate will vote on the budget deal agreed to by congressional leaders and the White House before senators leave town for the August recess.
The Republican leader said Monday he’s “very encouraged” by the agreement reached by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
McConnell says the “reality of divided government means this is not exactly the deal Republicans would have written on our own.”
But he says all sides have made “enormous strides” funding national defense recently and the deal “is what we need to keep building on that progress.”
The deal sets federal funding levels for the next two years and allows continued borrowing. The House is expected to vote first, with the Senate voting before recessing next week.
PUERTO RICO-GOVERNOR-THE LATEST
The Latest: Trump says he’s ‘best thing’ for Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s “the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico” and he’s renewing his attacks on the U.S. territory’s officials on a day when tens of thousands are marching on the island to demand the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Roselló.
Trump didn’t respond directly Monday when asked if Rosselló should step down, but described him as “a terrible governor.”
He aimed most of his fire at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has frequently derided him and complained about the federal response to 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Trump described her as “a horror show” and “grossly incompetent.”
Trump said Congress has given Puerto Rico billions to recover from the hurricane and complained it’s “in the hands of incompetent people and very corrupt people.”
The president called himself “the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico” and added, “We did a great job in Puerto Rico. They don’t like to give me the credit for it, but we did a great job. I have many Puerto Rican friends. I have a real understanding of Puerto Rico.”
The Latest: Venezuela government says attack caused blackout
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s socialist government is blaming a nationwide blackout on an “electromagnetic attack” against the nation’s hydroelectric system.
Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez read a statement broadcast on social media Monday in which he said authorities were working to restore service as quickly as possible. He appealed for calm and said contingency plans had been activated so that medical facilities would not be affected. He said security forces were also being deployed to guarantee peoples’ safety.
Authorities attributed an almost week-long outage across Venezuela in March to a U.S.-sponsored electromagnetic attack on the Guri dam, source of around 80% of the nation’s power. But government opponents laid bare years of underinvestment in the nation’s grid by corrupt officials who mismanaged an oil bonanza in the nation sitting atop the world’s largest crude reserves.
Chris Kraft, 1st flight director for NASA, dies at 95
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chris Kraft, the founder of NASA’s mission control, died Monday, just two days after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He was 95.
Kraft made key decisions on launches as the U.S. was learning how to put a man into space. Astronaut Neil Armstrong once called him “the man who was the ‘Control’ in Mission Control.”
The first manned flights started in 1961. Kraft had to decide life-and-death matters, such as whether conditions were safe for launch and what to do if a problem developed.
Later in the ’60s, he helped design the Apollo missions that took Americans to the moon in 1969. He retired from NASA in 1982 but continued to work as a consultant.
The Latest: Judiciary Democrats to hold mock Mueller hearing
NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will hold a mock hearing behind closed doors Tuesday as they prepare for former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before the panel Wednesday.
That’s according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to publicly discuss the planning.
The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees will be questioning Mueller about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
While Mueller’s report did not find sufficient evidence to establish charges of criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, it said President Donald Trump could not be cleared of trying to obstruct the investigation.
Mueller has said he doesn’t intend to speak beyond the findings of the report during the congressional hearings.
— Mary Clare Jalonick
Trump expands fast-track deportation authority across US
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Trump administration is expanding the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants without requiring them to appear before judges ahead of deportation.
The Homeland Security Department said Monday that fast-track deportations will apply to anyone in the country illegally less than two years.
Until now those deportations applied only to people caught crossing the U.S. border by land and not entering by boat or plane.
The department says the expansion “expedited removal” authority will allow it to more efficiently pursue large numbers of people in the country illegally and promptly remove them.
Omar Jawdat of the American Civil Liberties says his group and the American Immigration Council will challenge the measure in court.
The announcement came a week after the administration adopted a major policy shift to limit asylum.
Study: Millions should stop using aspirin for heart health
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study suggests millions of people may need to rethink their use of aspirin to prevent a heart attack.
If you’ve already had one heart attack or stroke, doctors still recommend a low-dose aspirin a day to prevent a second one.
But if you don’t yet have heart disease, the advice recently changed. Guidelines now rule out routine aspirin use for many otherwise healthy older adults and say it’s only for certain younger people under doctor’s orders.
Harvard researchers estimated how many people might be affected. They report that millions took aspirin without a doctor’s recommendation as late as 2017. They urge patients to ask their doctors if the simple remedy is right for them.
The study was published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Angels’ Skaggs remembered and praised at memorial service
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs has been remembered at a memorial service as a beloved son, husband, teammate and friend whose upbeat personality brought joy to everyone around him.
Skaggs’ teammates and family gathered at a Catholic church in his native Santa Monica on Monday to remember Skaggs, who was found dead in his hotel room in Texas on July 1. He died just short of his 28th birthday.
Hundreds of attendees laughed and cried at the eulogies from 14 speakers, including Angels current pitcher Andrew Heaney. The final speaker was Carli Skaggs, the pitcher’s wife.
The current Angels were joined by former team members including manager Mike Scioscia, Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards and David Freese.
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North Korea’s Kim inspects newly built submarine
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s state media say leader Kim Jong Un has inspected a newly built submarine to be deployed soon.
Tuesday’s report comes days after North Korea said it may lift its 20-month suspension of nuclear and missile tests to protest expected military drills between the United States and South Korea.
The Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday Kim expressed “great satisfaction” with the submarine after learning about its operational and tactical data and weapon systems.
KCNA says the submarine’s operational deployment “is near at hand.”
The construction of a new submarine suggests North Korea has been boosting its military capability despite nuclear diplomacy with the U.S. that began early last year.
North Korea has repeatedly said it’s willing to abandon its nuclear program in return for political and economic benefits.
Marvel’s next films will bring diversity, onscreen and off
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Marvel’s push for more women and people of color in its cinematic universe is extending to behind the camera for its next slate of films.
Of the five films Marvel Studios announced at Comic-Con on Saturday, only one is set to be directed by a white man.
In addition to a slew of women and people of color at the helm of upcoming Marvel films, the weekend’s announcements promised more diversity on screen, including the female-led “Black Widow” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Also in the works are films starring Marvel’s first Asian American superhero — Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi — and its first LGBTQ character — Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie.
Marvel veteran Scarlett Johansson said the increase in diversity made her proud to be a part of the franchise.
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