Congress OKs bill averting Saturday gov't shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) - With just hours to spare, Congress easily approved a short-term spending bill Friday that would prevent a partial federal shutdown over the weekend. But on President Donald Trump's 99th day in office, lawmakers were leaving until next week without completing two other measures he's coveted: A Republican health care overhaul and a budget financing government for the entire year. The Senate sent the temporary spending measure to Trump by voice vote after the House approved it by a lopsided 382-30 vote. The bill keeps the government functioning through next Friday, which leaders hope will give bipartisan bargainers enough time to finish a $1 trillion package financing government through Sept.
Trump to address NRA, raise money for key Congress race WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump will become the first sitting president to address a National Rifle Association convention in more than 30 years when he speaks Friday at the group's annual meeting. The president's trip to Atlanta also will serve as his first foray into a congressional race since taking office. Trump is expected to attend a private fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel, a local election that has become a national referendum on his presidency. Trump has been a champion of gun rights and supportive of NRA efforts to loosen restrictions on gun ownership. During the campaign, he promised to do away with President Barack Obama's efforts to strengthen background checks and to eliminate gun-free zones at schools and military bases.
Trump signs order aimed at opening Arctic drilling WASHINGTON (AP) - Working to dismantle his predecessor's environmental legacy, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday aimed at expanding drilling in the Arctic and opening other federal areas to oil and gas exploration. With one day left to rack up accomplishments before he reaches his 100th day in office, Trump signed an order reversing some of former President Barack Obama's restrictions and instructing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review a plan that dictates which federal locations are open to offshore drilling. It's part of Trump's promise to unleash the nation's energy reserves in an effort to reduce reliance on foreign oil and to spur jobs, regardless of fierce opposition from environmental activists who say offshore drilling harms whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbates global warming.
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US urges new sanctions on NKorea and warns of catastrophe UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United States called for new sanctions on North Korea Friday and threatened to punish international companies doing banned business with the pariah nation's nuclear and missile programs. Doing nothing could be "catastrophic," top diplomat Rex Tillerson told a special U.N. Security Council session he chaired. Amid council members' warning about the potential for conflict, Tillerson urged tougher action from China, North Korea's main trading partner. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi countered that a solution doesn't lie with Beijing and suggested resuming a long-stalled dialogue with Pyongyang. North Korea may already be able to strike its U.S.-allied neighbors with a nuclear-tipped missile.
Street gang MS-13 grips Long Island suburbs in violence BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (AP) - Late at night, when helicopters thrum overhead and spotlights beam down onto lawns, many people here know exactly what's going on. "You just think, 'Oh, God, whose child is it now?'" said Stephanie Spezia, a longtime resident of this suburb in the heart of Long Island that's caught in the grip of a violent street gang with Central American ties, MS-13. MS-13 has been blamed for a trail of 11 corpses of mostly young people discovered in woods and vacant lots in Brentwood and neighboring Central Islip since the start of the school year. The bloodshed in the two blue-collar towns has gotten the attention of President Donald Trump, who says the killings are the result of lax immigration policies that let too many criminal "scum" slip through.
George HW Bush released after latest Houston hospital stay HOUSTON (AP) - Former President George H.W. Bush was released Friday from a Houston hospital where he received treatment for a mild case of pneumonia and chronic bronchitis during a two-week stay. "President and Mrs. Bush are very pleased to be home spending time with family and friends and grateful for the outstanding care provided by his doctors and nurses," Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. The 92-year-old Bush had been admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on April 14 for treatment of a persistent cough. Doctors determined he had pneumonia. But after the pneumonia was treated, Bush remained hospitalized as he dealt with a case of chronic bronchitis - a constant irritation of the lining of tubes that carry air to one's lungs.
Florida boy among 5 students hit by car has died MIAMI (AP) - A Florida sheriff's deputy was sleeping Thursday afternoon when his 11-year-old daughter called and asked him to pick her up at her school bus stop. Seconds later, she started screaming into the phone, "Dad, help me, help me!" Polk County Sheriff's Deputy Jonathan "JJ" Quintana told reporters at a news conference Friday that he assumed the worst as he jumped out of bed and ran barefoot to the bus stop. He found his daughter safe, but immediately saw the carnage left when a suspected drunken driver hit five of her fellow Dundee Ridge Middle Academy students as they were walking home from the stop.
Warren 'troubled' by report of Wall Street-paid Obama speech WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she's "troubled" by reports that former President Barack Obama will be paid $400,000 to speak at a September health care conference put on by Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald. The Massachusetts Democrat said Thursday on SiriusXM's "Alter Family Politics" program that she is concerned about the overall influence of money in politics. Obama spokesman Eric Schultz says in a statement that the Democratic former president accepted the invitation to speak because health care is "an issue of great importance to him." He added that Obama implemented financial reforms even after taking money from Wall Street as a candidate in 2008.
Self-described psychic sentenced to 8 years in prison PAINESVILLE, Ohio (AP) - A self-described psychic who scammed more than $1 million in cash and valuables from a dozen people she promised to protect from "dark forces" has been sentenced to eight years in prison. An Ohio judge gave 42-two-year-old Gina Miller the maximum sentence and ordered her to repay $1.4 million. Before her Thursday sentencing in Painesville, Miller apologized and asked Judge Vincent Culotta for leniency so she could care for her two sons, including one she said has a mental illness. "Quite simply, you don't deserve leniency," Culotta said. "You deserve to be punished." Defense attorney Louis Carlozzi said Miller's fortune telling was a part of her Romani culture, and she "took it a step too far." But prosecutors described Miller as "a con artist." An audio tape from a former client who had worn a wire for Mentor police was played in court, and the woman can be heard asking Miller what would happen if she could not make payments.
'13 Reasons' sparks criticism of teen suicide depiction NEW YORK (AP) - It's a scene as painful to watch as it is graphic: A 17-year-old girl climbs into a bathtub with a razor. We see her slice into her skin, we see the blood pour out, hear her cry and struggle to breathe. Then she is still. The suicide of the heroine in Netflix's new popular series "13 Reasons Why" shouldn't come as a shock, since it's depicted in the final episode of a series built around the character's death. But knowing that it is coming doesn't make it any easier. That stomach-turning scene has triggered criticism that it romanticizes suicide and prompted many schools across the country to send warning letters to parents and guardians.