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

Powerful, obscure law is basis for Trump ‘order’ on trade

BIARRITZ, France (AP) — President Donald Trump is threatening to use the emergency authority granted by a powerful but obscure federal law to make good on his tweeted “order” to U.S. businesses to cut ties in China amid a spiraling trade war between the two nations.

China’s announcement Friday that it was raising tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. imports sent Trump into a rage and White House aides scrambling for a response.

Trump fired off on Twitter, declaring American companies “are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.” He later clarified that he was threatening to make use of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in the trade war, raising questions about the wisdom and propriety of making the 1977 act used to target rogue regimes, terrorists and drug traffickers the newest weapon in the clash between the world’s largest economies.

It would mark the latest grasp of authority by Trump, who has claimed widespread powers not sought by his predecessors despite his own past criticism of their use of executive powers.

“For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,” Trump tweeted late Friday. “Case closed!”

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Brazilian troops begin deploying to fight Amazon fires

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Backed by military aircraft, Brazilian troops on Saturday were deploying in the Amazon to fight fires that have swept the region and prompted anti-government protests as well as an international outcry.

President Jair Bolsonaro also tried to temper global concern, saying that previously deforested areas had burned and that intact rainforest was spared. Even so, the fires were likely to be urgently discussed at a summit of the Group of Seven leaders in France this weekend.

Some 44,000 troops will be available for “unprecedented” operations to put out the fires, and forces are heading to six Brazilian states that asked for federal help, Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo said. The states are Roraima, Rondonia, Tocantins, Para, Acre and Mato Grosso.

The military’s first mission will be carried out by 700 troops around Porto Velho, capital of Rondonia, Azevedo said. The military will use two C-130 Hercules aircraft capable of dumping up to 12,000 liters (3,170 gallons) of water on fires, he said.

An Associated Press journalist flying over the Porto Velho region Saturday morning reported hazy conditions and low visibility. On Friday, the reporter saw many already deforested areas that were burned, apparently by people clearing farmland, as well as a large column of smoke billowing from one fire.

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Even before photo op of G-7 allies, sharp elbows come out

BIARRITZ, France (AP) — The posturing by leaders of the G-7 rich democracies began well before they stood together for a summit photo.

French President Emmanuel Macron, the host, cornered Donald Trump at the American leader’s hotel with an impromptu lunch invitation. It was something of a power move by Macron, who pushed the Amazon wildfires to the top of the agenda at a summit Trump hoped to use to persuade allies they can avoid economic disaster by following his low-tax, low-regulation mantra.

European Council President Donald Tusk and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traded barbs over who would go down in history as “Mr. No Deal” and take the blame for a Brexit departure from the European Union that threatens to go off the rails.

And nearly everyone kept a trade threat close at hand.

Just before boarding Air Force One for France, Trump tweeted yet another threat of new tariffs on French wine in retaliation for France’s digital services tax. Macron greeted him warmly as a “very special guest,” but had already called for an end to the trade disputes that he said threatened global growth.

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Will the real Mr. No-Deal step forward please?

BIARRITZ, France (AP) — Deal or No Deal?

One might think the issue would be on the minds of two leaders at the vortex of the question of whether the UK will leave the European Union without a deal in October. 

But as Britain and the European Union hurtle toward a no-deal Brexit, the contest Saturday seemed to be who is going to go down in history with the blame and the label: Mr. No-Deal.

As world leaders touched down in the French seaside resort of Biarritz for the Group of Seven summit, the long-running tensions over Britain’s departure from the EU got a tad personal. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Council president Donald Tusk each suggested that the other is bent on scuttling the chances that the UK will break away from the single market of 500 million with an agreement.

Tusk went first. In a comment that laid bare his exasperation, he told reporters at the summit that Johnson would be the third British prime minister with whom he’d discussed the issue. The EU cooperated with David Cameron who wanted to remain, and with Theresa May, who wanted to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

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Lightning strike at Tour Championship causes 6 injuries

ATLANTA (AP) — Six people were injured Saturday when lightning struck a 60-foot pine at the Tour Championship where they were taking cover from rain and showered them with debris, Atlanta police said.

The third round of the season-ending PGA Tour event had been suspended for about 30 minutes because of storms in the area, and fans were instructed to seek shelter. The strike hit the top of the tree just off the 16th tee and shattered the bark all the way to the bottom.

Brad Uhl of Atlanta was crammed under a hospitality tent to the right of the 16th hole that was open to the public.

“There was just a big explosion and then an aftershock so strong you could feel the wind from it,” Uhl said after the last of the ambulances pulled out of the golf course. “It was just a flash out of the corner of the eye. It was raining and everyone was huddled near the tree.”

Uhl said the people on the ground were moving around before the ambulances arrived.

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‘Red flag laws’ offer tool for preventing some gun violence

After a white supremacist discussed plans on Facebook for a mass shooting at a synagogue, police in Washington used a new law to quickly seize his 12 firearms, long before he was convicted of any crime.

But when a Tennessee father became alarmed about his son after receiving a suicidal text message, he said the police determined they could not take his son’s guns away. A few months later, the man showed up at a church and shot seven worshippers one Sunday morning, killing one.

Family members and police routinely face agonizing decisions when otherwise lawful gun owners reveal an impulse to harm themselves or others, and more states are enacting laws that let authorities take away their weapons.

With bipartisan support in many cases, 17 states and Washington D.C. have now passed “red flag laws” that allow the court-ordered removal of guns from people who are considered to be dangerous. The back-to-back shootings that killed 31 people this month in Texas and Ohio have given new momentum to proposals pending in several other states and to a plan in Congress to provide grant money to states that adopt such measures.

In a rare victory for gun control advocates, the laws have spread since the February 2018 shooting that killed 17 students and staff members at a high school in Parkland, Florida. New York’s new law took effect Saturday while New Jersey’s begins Sept. 1. The proliferation of such laws comes despite opposition from gun rights activists and others who say the measures go too far.

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Luck announces retirement following Colts loss to Bears

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck watched one last game from the sideline Saturday.

Then he said goodbye to the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback heard boos as he walked away from the field, then walked to the podium and made the surprise decision official. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29.

“I am going to retire,” he said. “This is not an easy decision. It’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me.”

Luck said the repeated injuries, the lingering pain and continual rehab took away his love for the game.

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Buttigieg making faith-based appeal to voters in 2020 bid

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) — The question was about climate change. The answer soon turned to the Bible.

And Pete Buttigieg knew the verses.

“There’s a lot about the stewardship of creation that is in Scripture that I don’t see being honored by the administration right now, not to mention the stuff about loving your neighbor and taking care of the least among us and feeding the poor,” the South Bend, Indiana, mayor said. The crowd of about 250 at a Mississippi River park in southeastern Iowa this month erupted with cheers.

Republicans for a half century have built a loyal following among white evangelical Christians. But Buttigieg, like no other Democrat seeking the 2020 presidential nomination, is trying to demonstrate that there’s a strong religiosity among Democrats , too.

President Donald Trump’s reelection fortunes are rooted deeply in the unshakable support among religious conservatives . But Buttigieg’s regular references to his own Christian faith offer a counterweight that could be an influential asset in Iowa and beyond as Democrats parry the secular labels that Republicans have tried to apply to them.

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Son of ex-NFL player accused of murdering parents arrested

LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say the son of a former NFL lineman wanted on murder charges in Minnesota for the shooting of his parents was arrested Saturday in Mexico.

The Todd County Sheriff’s Office says 22-year-old Dylan John Bennett was arrested on second degree murder charges at a hotel Saturday in Cancun.

Authorities say Bennett had contacted County Sheriff Steve Och earlier in the day to say that he would turn himself in to the FBI. But a sheriff’s office statement said the arrest by Mexican authorities came before the information could be communicated to them.

“The FBI is taking him into custody now and will transport him to Minnesota in the coming days,” the statement said.

The bodies of 63-year-old Barry Bennett and his wife, Carol, were found Wednesday at their home in Long Prairie, a town of about 3,500 people 124 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis. Their deaths were ruled homicide from gunshots.

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Tropical Storm Dorian forms in Atlantic, likely to grow

MIAMI (AP) — A newly formed tropical depression has strengthened into the fourth tropical storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Dorian is moving west and could reach hurricane strength Tuesday when it nears the central Lesser Antilles.

At 11 p.m. EDT Saturday, the storm’s center was located at about 635 miles (1,022 kilometers) east-southeast of Barbados and was moving west at 14 mph (22 kph). Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 40 mph (64 kph).

No watches or warnings have been issued, but forecasters said watches will likely be necessary Sunday for parts of the Lesser Antilles.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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