Speaker again, Pelosi sees ‘new dawn’ for 116th Congress
WASHINGTON — Cheering Democrats returned Nancy Pelosi to the House speaker’s post Thursday as the 116th Congress ushered in a historically diverse freshman class eager to confront President Donald Trump in a new era of divided government.
Pelosi, elected speaker 220-192, took the gavel saying U.S. voters “demanded a new dawn” in the November election that swept the Democrats to a House majority and are looking to “the beauty of our Constitution” to provide checks and balances on power. She faced 15 dissenting votes from fellow Democrats.
For a few hours, the promise of a new era was the order of the day. The new speaker invited scores of lawmakers’ kids to join her on the dais as she was sworn in, calling the House to order “on behalf of all of America’s children.”
Even Trump congratulated her during a rare appearance at the White House briefing room, saying her election by House colleagues was “a tremendous, tremendous achievement.” The president has tangled often with Pelosi and is sure to do so again with Democrats controlling the House, but he said, “I think it’ll be a little bit different than a lot of people are thinking.”
As night fell, the House quickly got to work on the partial government shutdown, which was winding up Day 13 with Trump demanding billions in Mexican border wall funding to bring it to an end. Democrats approved legislation to re-open the government — but without the $5.6 billion in wall money, which means it has no chance in the Republican Senate.
Day 13: Dems pass funding plan without wall, Trump digs in
WASHINGTON — On their first day in the majority, House Democrats on Thursday night passed a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall.
The largely party-line votes came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room pledging to keep up the fight for his signature campaign promise.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump and Senate Republicans should “take yes for an answer” and approve the border bill, which was virtually identical to a plan the Senate adopted on a voice vote last month.
“We’re not doing a wall. Does anyone have any doubt that we’re not doing a wall?” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference Thursday night.
Pelosi, who was elected speaker earlier Thursday, also took a shot a Trump, calling his proposal “a wall between reality and his constituents.”
7 killed after fiery crash, fuel spill on Florida highway
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Two big rigs and two passenger vehicles collided and spilled diesel fuel across a Florida highway Thursday, sparking a massive fire that killed seven people, authorities said.
The wreck happened on Interstate 75 about a mile (1.6 kilometers) south of Alachua, near Gainesville. The flames were fed by about 50 gallons (189 liters) of diesel, authorities said.
Several others were taken to the hospital, some with critical injuries, the Gainesville Sun reported. Authorities initially said six had died but late Thursday night revealed a seventh victim had perished.
Emergency crews extinguished the fire and said they were treating the crash as a homicide investigation, but didn’t say why. The fire was so intense that authorities said it damaged parts of the road.
A spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol told The Associated Press in a phone interview that their top priorities were to conduct a thorough investigation and to identify the deceased victims.
AP Exclusive: Big jump in US Catholic dioceses naming names
PHILADELPHIA — Over the past four months, Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. have released the names of more than 1,000 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children in an unprecedented public reckoning spurred at least in part by a shocking grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, an Associated Press review has found.
Nearly 50 dioceses and religious orders have publicly identified child-molesting priests in the wake of the Pennsylvania report issued in mid-August, and 55 more have announced plans to do the same over the next few months, the AP found. Together they account for more than half of the nation’s 187 dioceses.
The review also found that nearly 20 local, state or federal investigations, either criminal or civil, have been launched since the release of the grand jury findings. Those investigations could lead to more names and more damning accusations, as well as fines against dioceses and court-ordered safety measures.
“People saw what happened in these parishes in Pennsylvania and said, ‘That happened in my parish too.’ They could see the immediate connection, and they are demanding the same accounting,” said Tim Lennon, national president of the board of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
The recently disclosed accusations date back six or seven decades in some cases, with the oldest from the 1910s in Louisiana. Most of the priests were long ago removed from ministry. An AP examination found that more than 60 percent are dead. In most cases, the statute of limitations for bringing criminal charges or suing has run out.
Charles Manson follower, murderer recommended for parole
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California parole panel on Thursday recommended for the first time that Charles Manson follower Robert Beausoleil be freed after serving nearly a half-century in prison for murder.
Beausoleil, 71, was not involved in the most notorious killings of actress Sharon Tate and six others by the Manson “family” in 1969. He was convicted in the slaying of musician Gary Hinman that same year.
Hinman was tortured for three days, according to testimony at previous parole hearings, including when Manson cut his face with a sword.
Parole panels ruled against releasing Beausoleil 18 prior times.
California’s incoming governor, Gavin Newsom, could block the parole in coming months. Termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown has consistently stopped releases for followers of the cult leader, who died in prison in 2017.
Police: 3 young children found dead in Texas apartment
TEXAS CITY, Texas — Authorities in Texas are searching for a 27-year-old man after three young children were found dead Thursday in an apartment.
Police in Texas City, 48 miles (77 kilometers) southeast of Houston on the Gulf Coast, went to Pointe Ann Apartments on Thursday evening on a welfare check and discovered the children along with a woman with a gunshot wound to the head.
One of the children was an infant, another was 2 years old and the third was 5 years old, police said in a statement.
The woman was listed in stable condition at a Galveston hospital. Her relationship to the children was not immediately clear.
Texas City police Lt. Kenneth Brown told the Houston Chronicle that the woman is unable to speak to investigators. He described her injuries as severe.
Detecting depression: Phone apps could monitor teen angst
Rising suicide rates and depression in U.S. teens and young adults have prompted researchers to ask a provocative question: Could the same devices that some people blame for contributing to tech-age angst also be used to detect it?
The idea has sparked a race to develop apps that warn of impending mental health crises. Call it smartphone psychiatry or child psychology 2.0.
Studies have linked heavy smartphone use with worsening teen mental health. But as teens scroll through Instagram and Snapchat, tap out texts or watch YouTube videos, they also leave digital footprints that might offer clues to their psychological well-being.
Changes in typing speed, voice tone, word choice and how often kids stay home could signal trouble, according to preliminary studies.
There might be as many as 1,000 smartphone “biomarkers” for depression, said Dr. Thomas Insel, former head of the National Institute of Mental Health and now a leader in the smartphone psychiatry movement.
Orrin Hatch ends 4-decade Senate run as unique GOP voice
SALT LAKE CITY — Orrin Hatch ended his tenure Thursday as the longest-serving Republican senator in history, capping a unique career that positioned him as one of the most prominent conservatives in the United States.
The departure of the vocal supporter of President Donald Trump ushers in another outsized Utah voice with a very different take on the president: Mitt Romney, whose renewed criticism of Trump is already making waves. Romney was sworn in to the U.S. Senate seat from which Hatch is retiring after four decades and at the height of his power.
A staunch conservative who wasn’t afraid to cross the aisle, Hatch teamed with Democrats to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program for low-income kids. He also championed GOP issues like abortion limits and played a major role in shaping the U.S. Supreme Court, including defending Clarence Thomas against sexual harassment allegations during confirmation hearings.
In recent years, the 84-year-old helped pass a federal tax overhaul, pushed for Trump’s divisive decision to downsize two national monuments in Utah and called for a return to an era of political civility.
Hatch, who did not agree to an interview with The Associated Press after several requests over the last month, was a fresh-faced trial lawyer from Pittsburgh when he narrowly upset Democratic Sen. Frank Moss in 1976.
Powerful Chicago council member charged in federal probe
CHICAGO — One of the most powerful and longest-serving City Council members in Chicago history appeared in federal court Thursday on a charge that he tried to shake down a major fast-food restaurant chain seeking city remodeling permits.
Alderman Ed Burke, 75, is charged with one count of attempted extortion for conveying to company executives in 2017 that they’d get the permits only if they signed on as clients at Burke’s private property-tax law firm in Chicago, a 37-page complaint unsealed on Thursday says.
For many Chicagoans suspicious of dealings behind closed doors at City Hall, Burke has personified the city’s machine politics for decades. Dozens of aldermen have entered U.S. District court on corruption charges, but Burke seemed too powerful, too wealthy and too savvy to land himself in the kind of legal trouble he now faces.
He sat in a packed Chicago federal courtroom Thursday afternoon with his arms folded, wearing his trademark pinstriped suit with a pocket square. Minutes later, he stood before U.S. Magistrate Sheila Finnegan, who asked if he understood the charge and that a conviction could carry a lengthy prison sentence.
“Yes, your honor,” he answered calmly.
No. 8 Baylor women beat UConn 68-57 for 1st win over No. 1
WACO, Texas — Kalani Brown had 20 points and 17 rebounds as No. 8 Baylor won over a top-ranked team for the first time, beating UConn 68-57 Thursday night and handing the Huskies their first regular-season loss in more than four years.
The Huskies (11-1) hadn’t lost a regular-season game in regulation since a 76-70 home loss to Baylor in a Nos. 1 vs. 2 matchup on Feb. 18, 2013 — a span of 163 games. Their only regular-season loss since then was 88-86 in overtime at Stanford on Nov. 14, 2014. They had won 126 consecutive regular-season games, 58 of them non-conference matchups.
UConn is the only No. 1 team Baylor has ever faced in coach Kim Mulkey’s 19 seasons. The Lady Bears had lost each of the previous three such meetings, including UConn’s last visit to Waco nearly five years ago.
The Huskies had their only lead at 2-0 when Crystal Dangerfield scored in the opening minute of the game.
Chloe Jackson added 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Baylor (10-1), while NaLyssa Smith had 12 points. Juicy Landrum scored 11 points while Lauren Cox added nine points and seven rebounds.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.