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  • AP Exclusive: In western China, thought police instill fear

    KORLA, China (AP) — Nobody knows what happened to the Uighur student after he returned to China from Egypt and was taken away by police.

    Not his village neighbors in China’s far west, who haven’t seen him in months. Not his former classmates, who fear Chinese authorities beat him to death.

    Not his mother, who lives in a two-story house at the far end of a country road, alone behind walls bleached by the desert sun. She opened the door one afternoon for an unexpected visit by Associated Press reporters, who showed her a picture of a handsome young man posing in a park, one arm in the wind.

    “Yes, that’s him,” she said as tears began streaming down her face. “This is the first time I’ve heard anything of him in seven months. What happened?” “Is he dead or alive?” The student’s friends think he joined the thousands — possibly tens of thousands — of people, rights groups and academics estimate, who have […]
  • Chileans vote in fiercely contested presidential election

    SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chileans voters will decide Sunday whether to swing the world’s top copper-producing country to the right or maintain its center-left path in a fiercely contested presidential runoff election.

    Polls had predicted that former President Sebastian Pinera would win the runoff. But the election was thrown into uncertainty after the billionaire businessman obtained a lower-than-expected turnout in November’s first round of voting. He faces journalist and center-left Sen. Alejandro Guillier, who has been buoyed by support from Chile’s hard left.

    Chile has been hit by lower international prices and demand for copper, which is the backbone of its economy. The economic slowdown and disenchantment by Chileans who feel that President Michelle Bachelet wavered on her promises of profound social changes in labor and education initially helped Pinera, who ended his 2010-2014 term with a poor […]
  • Sen. Schumer: Bomb-detection units needed at transit hubs

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer wants the Transportation Security Administration to speed up plans to equip transit hubs with screening devices that can detect suicide vests like the one that exploded in a New York City subway tunnel.

    Schumer says Sunday that the devices known as stand-off explosive detection units are urgently needed in New York City and other busy transit areas.

    The devices, which look like TV cameras on tripods, have been tested at Union Station in Washington and at a New Jersey station during the 2014 Super Bowl. Testing was conducted recently at a downtown Los Angeles metro station.

    But a TSA spokesman says the technology is still in the testing phase and not ready for rollout. Effectiveness at detecting bombs and frequency of false alarms are being evaluated. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • A CDC ban on ‘fetus’ and ‘transgender?’ Experts alarmed

    NEW YORK (AP) — Health leaders say they are alarmed about a report that officials at the nation’s top public health agency are being told not to use certain words or phrases in official budget documents, including “fetus,” ”transgender” and “science-based.”

    The health community was reacting to a story in The Washington Post published late Friday citing an anonymous source who said the prohibition was made at a recent meeting of senior budget officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven words and phrases — “diversity,” ”entitlement,” ”fetus,” transgender,” ”vulnerable,” ”evidence-based” and “science-based” — were not to be used in documents that are to be circulated within the federal government and Congress in preparation of the next presidential budget proposal, the paper reported.

    On Saturday a CDC official confirmed CDC officials were given “feedback” from higher ranks of the federal government at a recent meeting to reconsider certain language in draft budget documents. But she said she did not know if there was any specific prohibition about using those seven words. She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying […]
  • Planning board OKs Marriott’s $600M Maryland headquarters

    BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Marriott International’s plans to open a new $600 million headquarters in suburban Maryland has been approved by a local planning board.

    WTOP-FM reports that the Montgomery County Planning Board had approved the world’s largest hotel company’s plans to build near the Bethesda Metro station.

    Marriott announced last year it would be staying in Montgomery after the county and Maryland offered the company a $60 million incentive package. The company also considered Washington and Northern Virginia.

    The company hopes to break ground next year and move its 3,500 employees to the new location by 2022. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Autopsies underway for Canadian billionaires found dead

    TORONTO (AP) — Investigators are awaiting the results of autopsies performed on Toronto billionaire and philanthropist Barry Sherman and his wife before determining the next steps in the ongoing probe into their suspicious deaths.

    Toronto Police Const. David Hopkinson said Saturday the autopsies were being performed a day after the Apotex founder and his wife, Honey, were found dead in their north Toronto mansion. Police have described the deaths as suspicious, but offered no other details to date.

    Sherman was the chairman of generic drug maker Apotex. Apotex described their deaths as shocking and tragic. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was saddened to by the news of the sudden passing of Barry and his wife Honey. Canadian Business magazine estimated Sherman’s worth at $4.77 billion Canadian (US$3.65 billion). Copyright © […]
  • GM shows new Silverado pickup at event in Texas

    DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is showing of an all-new version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck at an event in Texas.

    The company released pictures of the rounded new truck with thin LED headlamps and a blacked-out front grille.

    GM gave few details ahead of its official debut at the Detroit auto show in January.

    The company says the 2019 Silverado will be lighter than the current model with a high-strength steel bed. It will have a mixed-metal body — that likely means a combination of aluminum and steel. The truck also will get new engines and transmissions, possibly including a diesel.

    The changes should help GM gain ground on the aluminum-clad Ford F-Series, the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. Fiat Chrysler also will show a new Ram pickup at the show. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • A look at some winners and losers under the GOP tax plan

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Count President Donald Trump among the personal winners in the $1.5 trillion tax package that congressional Republicans are on the verge of passing. It’s not only a political score for Trump but likely a windfall for his real estate empire, too.

    Oil drillers would also benefit. So would multimillionaire and billionaire owners of sports teams. Companies would enjoy a bounty from permanently lower tax rates. Lawyers and accountants will profit from the advice suddenly needed to guide clients through the tax plan.

    The bill creates plenty of losers, too. An estimated 13 million Americans are projected to lose health insurance. Commuters will no longer receive a perk that has saved them money. Some residents of high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California will pay more in taxes. And millions of American households could face tax […]
  • Hunter Harrison, CEO of railroad company CSX, dead at 73

    NEW YORK (AP) — Hunter Harrison, the president CEO of railroad giant CSX, has died, the company announced Saturday. He was 73.

    CSX confirmed Harrison’s death in a statement, saying it was caused by “unexpectedly severe complications” from a recent illness. His death in Wellington, Florida, comes only a couple days after the company announced he was taking an unplanned medical leave of absence.

    “Hunter’s burning passion, genuine humanity, and success helping countless connect with their fullest potential inspired a profound personal loyalty and devotion,” CSX board member Paul Hilal said in a statement. “Combining these with his unique genius, he created a legacy of truly historic proportions. I have been humbled and honored to be his friend, and […]
  • The Latest: Trump to meet with Cabinet members at Camp David

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the tax plan in Congress (all times local):

    4:10 p.m.

    President Donald Trump will be holding a series of weekend meetings with Cabinet members at Camp David.

    A White House spokeswoman said Saturday that Trump would meet with Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin as the Republican-led Congress plans to vote on its tax bill.

    Trump will also meet with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Housing and Urban Development head Ben Carson, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin.

    Trump is set to return to the White House on Sunday afternoon. ___ 1 p.m. President Donald Trump is defending the Republicans’ tax cut plan, pushing back against criticism that it will benefit the wealthy more than the middle class. Speaking to reporters at the White House Saturday before leaving for Camp David, Trump said […]
  • South Africa ruling party’s fight for its future kicks off

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The fight to replace South Africa’s scandal-prone President Jacob Zuma began Saturday as thousands of delegates of the ruling African National Congress gathered to elect a new leader, with Zuma acknowledging “failures” that have threatened the party’s future.

    The reputation of Nelson Mandela’s liberation movement has been battered during the tenure of Zuma, whose second term as party president is up. The new ANC leader is likely to become South Africa’s next president in 2019 elections.

    The two clear front-runners are Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former chair of the African Union Commission and Zuma’s ex-wife. The selection is expected to be announced on Sunday. Voters are frustrated with the ANC as Zuma’s administration has been mired in scandal and corruption allegations. Africa’s oldest liberation movement, which celebrated its […]
  • More than $600,000 spent on police gear for pipeline protest

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota law enforcement purchased more than $600,000 worth of body armor, tactical equipment and crowd control devices during the height of protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, state invoices show.

    The purchases, tallied by The Associated Press from invoices obtained through a public records request, included pepper spray, flash-bang and smoke grenades, riot helmets, gas masks, night-vision goggles, more than 2,000 rounds of non-lethal ammunition and more.

    The equipment ultimately made up a small share of the $35 million in policing costs associated with the pipeline, and state officials defend the purchases as reasonable for a protest that attracted thousands of “water protectors” to southern North Dakota who skirmished — sometimes violently — with law enforcement. “There was a legitimate, deliberate plan […]
  • Sign-ups show health law’s staying power in Trump era

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A deadline burst of sign-ups after a tumultuous year for the Obama health law has revealed continued demand for the program’s subsidized individual health plans. But the Affordable Care Act’s troubles aren’t over.

    On the plus side for the overhaul, official numbers showed a sizable share of first-time customers, 36 percent, were among those rushing to finish HealthCare.gov applications in the run-up to Friday’s enrollment deadline.

    “People need health care, that is plain and simple,” said Kevin Watkins of Florence, Alabama. A self-employed consultant helping small businesses sell online, Watkins re-enrolled for 2018. He’ll pay under $100 a month after subsidies. Final national enrollment numbers aren’t expected until next year because some states running their own insurance websites extended sign-ups to […]
  • For GOP, tax bill’s most visible win may be averting failure

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite the sheer size and society-spanning impact of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, the quickest and most potent political victory that Republicans would savor by pushing the bill through Congress next week may be what it averts: another big GOP legislative crash in the age of Trump.

    Even if Republicans are correct that tax cuts for business and the wealthy bolster the economy, it can take time for obvious results to show. And even with millions of families likely to enjoy lower taxes, many won’t feel much until they file their 2018 tax returns in early 2019. That’s well after the November 2018 elections that may be a coin flip for control of Congress, and recent races suggest those contests may be heavily influenced by President Donald Trump’s unpopularity.

    Approval of the tax bill seems certain, with House passage assured and two of the few potential Senate GOP opponents lining up Friday behind the measure: Marco Rubio of Florida and Tennessee’s Bob Corker. That means a White House signing ceremony, probably by Christmas. Republicans hope that would overshadow their embarrassing failure to repeal President […]
  • AP FACT CHECK: Trump denies knowing women he met

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Like Roy Moore before him, President Donald Trump has denied he knows or ever met women who have accused him of unwanted sexual advances. That denial is no more plausible than what people heard from the defeated Alabama Senate candidate.

    Trump’s tweet on the subject is at odds with the record — photos included — and was just one in a series of questionable statements he made over the past week on a variety of subjects.

    A look at a sampling: TRUMP: “Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia – so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!” — […]