Cruz's 2016 strategy focuses on turning out white voters PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - Ted Cruz has mapped out a path to the White House that all but ignores the explosion of minority voters in America. The Texas senator's general election strategy depends almost wholly upon maximizing turnout among millions of conservative white voters - mostly evangelical Christians and the white working class - who didn't participate in the last presidential contest. At the same time, Cruz's team is banking on a sharp decline in black and Hispanic support for the 2016 Democratic nominee, whoever it is, returning to voter trends before Barack Obama shook up the electorate as the nation's first black president and won an overwhelming share of support from non-white voters.
AP FACT CHECK: Clinton, Sanders missteps WASHINGTON (AP) - The latest Democratic debate found Hillary Clinton in a defensive crouch about her Wall Street ties and making iffy claims about that longtime relationship. Rival Bernie Sanders offered a fumbling account of a campaign ad that boasted of endorsements that were bogus. A look at some of their assertions, and how they compare with the facts: CLINTON: "I went to Wall Street before the crash. I was the one saying you're going to wreck the economy because of these shenanigans with mortgages. I called to end the carried-interest loophole that hedge fund managers enjoy." THE FACTS: Clinton was not nearly as tough-talking with Wall Street as she suggested in that remark and in her previous characterizations of her December 2007 speech.
Assange sex case sinks in international quagmire LONDON (AP) - It started more than five years ago as what appeared to be a fairly simple sex crime case: two women in Sweden came forward to accuse Julian Assange of sexual misconduct. Now the case has mutated into a complicated international drama involving Britain, Sweden, the United States, Ecuador, a host of human rights lawyers and the United Nations. But when the dust settles from an unexpected U.N. working group's finding Friday that Assange has been unlawfully detained, the painful stalemate is expected to continue, and Assange - though claiming full vindication - will most likely remain cooped up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
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In Brazil, pregnant women urged to be cautious with a kiss RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - In a sign of mounting global concern over the Zika virus, health officials on Friday warned pregnant women to think twice about the lips they kiss and called on men to use condoms with pregnant partners if they have visited countries where the virus is present. U.N. officials also called on many Catholic-majority countries in Latin America to loosen their abortion laws to allow women to terminate pregnancies if they fear the fetus may be at risk for a rare birth defect that causes brain damage and an abnormally small head, which may be linked to the virus.
Thousands more Syrians rush toward Turkey to flee fighting BEIRUT (AP) - Thousands of Syrians rushed toward the Turkish border Friday, fleeing a fierce government offensive and intense Russian airstrikes near Syria's largest city of Aleppo. Turkey, an ally of the Syrian opposition, promised humanitarian help for the displaced civilians, including food and shelter, but it did not say whether it would let them cross into the country, already burdened with hundreds of thousands of refugees. "The attacks and bombings by the Russian planes and the Syrian regime have left our brothers with nowhere else to go," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu said in a televised speech. The U.N. estimated that nearly 40,000 newly displaced people have massed in recent days in several border areas of northern Syria, including about 20,000 near the Bab al-Salam border crossing.
Twitter moves to actively seek out terrorist supporters WASHINGTON (AP) - Twitter is now using spam-fighting technology to seek out accounts that might be promoting terrorist activity and is examining other accounts related to those flagged for possible removal, the company announced Friday. The effort signaled efforts by Twitter to automatically identify tweets supporting terrorism, reflecting increased pressure placed by the U.S. government for social media companies to respond to abuse more proactively. Child pornography has previously been the only abuse that was automatically flagged for human review on social media, using a different kind of technology that sources a database of known images. Twitter also said Friday it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, mainly related to Islamic State militants, in the last eight months.
Pickups and American flags: Supporters mourn Oregon occupier KANAB, Utah (AP) - Sympathizers of the Oregon armed standoff rolled into this desert town Friday, some in pickup trucks flying American flags, to mourn an Arizona rancher and occupation spokesman who was killed last week in a confrontation with authorities. Hundreds of people from across the country packed a Mormon church for the funeral of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. Of the trucks filling the parking lot, one had a flier with a picture of Finicum and the words, "Murdered by the FBI," while another was scrawled with one of the rancher's favorite sayings: "By dang, I'm mad." Finicum's death has become a symbol for those decrying federal oversight, on public lands in the West and elsewhere, and has led to protests of what they call an unnecessary use of force by the FBI and Oregon State Police.
Many see cause for optimism despite slower US job growth WASHINGTON (AP) - Consider looking past January's so-so job growth. At first glance, Friday's government report on U.S. hiring was a downer - 151,000 added jobs, well below the pace of the previous few months. Yet once you take a fuller view, a brighter picture of the job market emerges: A sub-5 percent unemployment rate. Healthy pay raises. And a stream of people who grew confident enough in the job market to start looking for work. "The January report is a solid report in disguise," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and president of the conservative American Action Forum.
Apple now accepting your banged-up iPhone NEW YORK (AP) - Apple for the first time is accepting banged up iPhones as a trade-in from those wanting to upgrade. Until now, Apple offered credit to iPhone owners only if the device had an intact screen and working buttons. Apple hopes that with more leeway, applicable only to iPhone 5 and later models, more people will upgrade to new iPhones. Apple Inc. has told investors that it may book its first revenue decline in 13 years when it reports quarterly earnings in April due in part to weakness in the global economy. But the smartphone market has matured as well after a yearslong streak of blistering hot demand.
Johnny Manziel's father worried quarterback self-destructing CLEVELAND (AP) - With Johnny Manziel's professional career in doubt and his personal life crumbling, his father fears for his safety. The troubled quarterback was under investigation by two police departments following allegations that he hit his former girlfriend last weekend in Texas. Manziel was dropped by his agent Friday and will be released by the Cleveland Browns next month after two tumultuous seasons. "I truly believe if they can't get him help, he won't live to see his 24th birthday," Paul Manziel told The Dallas Morning News. Manziel's father said the family has made two unsuccessful attempts in the past week to get the player into a rehab clinic.