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  • State attorneys general sue to block net-neutrality repeal

    NEW YORK (AP) — A group of attorneys general for 21 states and the District of Columbia has sued to block the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net-neutrality rules .

    These rules barred companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s push to undo them inspired both street and online protests in defense of the Obama-era rules.

    New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the suit, said Tuesday that the end of the net neutrality rules would hurt consumers and businesses. Tech companies and public-interest groups are also expected to file suit or help with litigation against the repeal. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may […]
  • Immigration deal distant as leaders try to avert shutdown

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A deal between President Donald Trump and Congress to protect young immigrants from deportation remains distant. House GOP leaders are discussing plans for a bill temporarily keeping federal agencies open in hopes of avoiding an election-year shutdown this weekend.

    The continuing firestorm over Trump’s incendiary remarks about countries in Africa is roiling partisan relations. The comments were reported by participants and others and denied by Trump. Either way, they’re complicating efforts to craft a bipartisan agreement protecting younger immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, plus toughening border security with steps including funds to start building Trump’s long-promised border wall.

    Federal agencies would begin closing if Congress can’t enact legislation temporarily financing government by midnight Friday. House Republicans were meeting privately late Tuesday to discuss their plans. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Concept cars from Japan automakers offer glimpse into future

    DETROIT (AP) — Japanese vehicle brands are exploring new design ideas — and figuring out what sets them apart from their U.S. and European rivals — with new prototype vehicles.

    Nissan, Infiniti and Lexus are all unveiling new concept cars at the Detroit auto show, which opens to the public Saturday.

    Concepts are used to test ideas and see how show visitors react. Some elements are glamorous but impractical, with sharply angled headlights or pencil-thin side mirrors that will never actually end up on a production vehicle. But other elements from concept cars do make it onto the road. Lexus’s gaping spindle grilles, now a feature on the automaker’s vehicles, were introduced in 2011 on the LF-Gh concept car.

    “Maybe they don’t develop that concept per se, but it makes a statement about where the brand is going,” says Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst with the car buying site Autotrader.com. This year’s auto show concepts differ in many ways, but they’re striving for one thing: simplicity. They all have serene interiors with real wood […]
  • Consumer watchdog considering repeal of payday lending rule

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reconsidering a key rule enacted last year that would have protected consumers against harmful payday lenders.

    The bureau, which came under control of the Trump administration late last year, said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to take a second look at the payday lending rules. While the bureau did not submit a proposal to repeal the rules outright, the statement opens the door for the bureau to start the process of revising or even repealing the regulations.

    The CFPB, under Obama appointee Richard Cordray, finalized rules last year that would have put regulations on the payday lending industry nationwide. Lenders would have had to show that borrowers had the ability to repay loans instead of getting stuck in debt. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be […]
  • Watchdog: Foreign groups among spenders at Trump properties

    WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 60 groups, including foreign governments, political campaigns and business organizations, spent money at Trump-branded properties across the U.S. last year, according to a report Tuesday by a watchdog group that has long been critical of how such spending could be used to influence the president.

    Public Citizen, which compiled media reports and publicly available government data, cited moves by groups associated with at least three foreign governments — Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Kuwait — to book rooms and host events last year at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

    It also counted at least 16 business trade groups and two companies that used Trump properties for meetings and events, while 35 political candidates or organizations — all of them Republican — staffed fundraisers and other events at Trump locations. Then-President-elect Donald Trump moved a year ago to give up direct management of the company […]
  • US travel industry launches plan to reverse tourism decline

    NEW YORK (AP) — Travel industry representatives sounded an alarm Tuesday over declines in international tourism to the U.S. and announced plans to reverse the trend.

    Organizers of the new Visit U.S. Coalition portrayed the decline as long-term, going back to 2015, and said they would work with the Trump administration to reverse the decline.

    In a conference call Tuesday, coalition representatives said they’re not blaming Trump administration rhetoric and policies, though others in the travel industry have nicknamed the decline the “Trump Slump.”

    Organizers cited factors like the strong U.S. dollar, complex visa requirements and low-cost air travel in other markets. Proposals to reverse the decline include smoother visa processing and more welcoming messages. Statistics cited by the group showed America’s share of global travel has fallen from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent. Copyright © The Associated Press. […]
  • Tax law brings big paper losses, long-term gains to US banks

    NEW YORK (AP) — Big U.S. banks have been reporting billions of dollars in paper losses this month as they are forced to come into compliance with the new tax law. And while the losses are massive, they were largely expected, and bank executives say the new tax law will be good for banks as well as the economy in the long run.

    The biggest loser so far has been Citigroup, which reported Tuesday an $18 billion loss largely due to the tax law. The actual write-downs were even larger than that, more than $22 billion just in the quarter. It was one of the largest quarterly losses in Citi’s history.

    The charges that these banks are taking fall into two categories. The lion’s share is tied to what’s known as deferred tax assets. During the financial crisis nearly a decade ago, banks racked up billions of dollars in losses from soured mortgages and other toxic assets. These losses, under U.S. tax law, can be converted […]
  • Weekend derailment is latest black eye for DC subway system

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A derailment over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend is only the latest problem for the dysfunctional D.C. subway system that Washingtonians love to hate.

    Metro’s problems are familiar to subway riders in New York and other big cities: smoke-filled tunnels, technical failures, delays and more. But Washington isn’t just any American city. The Metro, once a jewel of the city, is critical for making the nation’s capital work. Washington City Councilman Jack Evans, who serves as chairman of the Metro board, cites studies showing 42 percent of federal government workers take public transit regularly.

    Metro’s odd funding structure makes it harder to fix the system. Washington’s trains extend into Virginia and Maryland, pulling in three bureaucracies in an unwieldy arrangement with officials who are reluctant to tax voters to subsidize the system. So Metro riders can do little more than fume about bad service and consider other travel options. […]
  • The Latest: California mudslide destruction tally grows

    SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on deadly California mudslides (all times local):

    12:54 p.m.

    The number of single-family homes determined to have been destroyed by mudslides in Montecito, California, has risen to 115.

    That’s nearly double from estimates last week.

    The multi-agency incident management team also said Tuesday that the number of houses damaged has been lowered to 242.

    The numbers are expected to fluctuate as damage inspections continue.

    The death toll remains at 20 with three missing since a powerful storm unleashed downpours on fire-denuded mountains and hillsides on Jan. 9. ___ 11:45 a.m. A lawsuit says that negligence by two California utilities contributed to widespread destruction from the state’s largest-ever wildfire in December and last week’s deadly mudslides caused when flame-scarred hillsides […]
  • French prison guards protest violent working conditions

    PARIS (AP) — French prison guards protested outside scores of jails across the country Tuesday for the second day in a row, demanding more security, more staff and safer handling of violent inmates.

    Protesters bellowing the national anthem shouted down Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet as she visited a prison in Vendin-le-Vieil in northern France to try to calm tensions.

    The national protest movement was launched by the country’s main prison staff unions after a radicalized inmate attacked three guards with a knife at this high-security prison last week.

    Authorities say the Vendin-le-Vieil attack was carried out by inmate Christian Ganczarski, a German national who converted to Islam and was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in a 2002 attack on a synagogue in Tunisia that left 21 people dead. Ganczarski was given new preliminary charges of attempted murder following Thursday’s […]
  • California governor proposes one-tunnel water plan

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is proposing scaling back his troubled plans to redo California’s water system, releasing a new plan that would build only one tunnel to ship water from Northern California instead of two, and put Southern and central California water agencies directly in charge of designing and building it.

    The state posted the revised proposal late Friday on a state website that solicits bids for state contracts.

    Brown had been pushing to launch construction of two giant $16 billion water tunnels to supply farms and cities to the south before he leaves office this year. The project, which would be California’s biggest water project in decades, last year failed to gain enough support from local water agencies that would pay for it. […]
  • Japanese PM lands in Romania as leader he is to meet resigns

    BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Bucharest on Tuesday for key talks on North Korea and investment, but landed in a Romanian political crisis prompted by the prime minister’s unexpected resignation.

    Just as Abe was arriving in Romania at the end of his six-nation European tour, President Klaus Iohannis named Defense Minister Mihai Fifor as the country’s interim prime minister.

    “(Romania’s) political uncertainty should not degenerate into political instability” that court hurt its economy, Iohannis said. Mihai Tudose, who took office in June 2017, quit as premier late Monday after the left-wing Social Democratic Party withdrew its support for him amid a party power struggle between him and the party’s powerful chairman, Liviu Dragnea. The […]
  • Prize winner Matt de la Pena has new book coming in October

    NEW YORK (AP) — Prize-winning children’s author Matt de la Pena has a new picture book planned for the fall that his publisher is calling “poignant and timely.”

    G.P. Putnam’s Books for Young Readers told The Associated Press on Tuesday that de la Pena’s “Carmela Full of Wishes,” a collaboration with illustrator Christian Robinson, tells the story of a young “Dreamer” who lives in a migrant community “steeped” in Mexican culture. The book is scheduled for Oct. 9.

    “In a time when we openly speak of building walls,” de la Pena said in a statement, “I was moved to tell the story of one young Dreamer, Carmela, who is filled with hope and heart and just a little dash of sass — like any other girl her age.” De la Pena and Robinson […]
  • Romney declines to say whether he’d run for Utah Senate seat

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declined to say Tuesday whether he would run for the Utah Senate seat being vacated by Republican Orrin Hatch, telling reporters the “time will come” for him to make some kind of announcement.

    Romney, who moved to Utah after losing the 2012 presidential election, repeatedly demurred when asked at a gathering of about 1,000 Utah business leaders in Salt Lake City whether he would run for office.

    “I don’t have anything for you on that topic today. Time will come,” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters after delivering a policy-laden speech and participating in a question-and-answer session at the event. Romney said he has had “a couple of very cordial conversations over the past couple of months” with President Donald Trump but […]
  • Minnesota governor seeks to borrow $1.5B for construction

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton urged skeptical lawmakers Tuesday to borrow $1.5 billion to fund overdue improvements to college campuses, water infrastructure and various other public construction projects, a request nearly twice as large as his administration estimated last month.

    The so-called bonding bill will be a marquee item for the coming legislative session when lawmakers return Feb. 20. And in his last chance to fund a backlog of public works proposals before leaving office early next year.

    Sensing inevitable pushback on the cost from Republicans who control the Legislature, the Democratic governor’s administration stressed the still-low — though rising — interest rates available for borrowing and said tackling the wish list could employ nearly 23,000 workers. “Now is the time to make substantial investments in our state’s future,” Dayton said in a […]