AP FACT CHECK: Misfires on Supreme Court nominations and Syria WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican presidential debaters misfired in assertions about Supreme Court nominees, Syria, immigration and more. A look at some of the claims Saturday night and how they compare with the facts: TED CRUZ: "We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year." MARCO RUBIO: "It has been over 80 years since a lame-duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice." THE FACTS: Cruz is wrong. Rubio is in the ballpark. Anthony Kennedy was confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 3, 1988, in the final year of Ronald Reagan's presidency, by a 97-0 vote.
Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court, has died WASHINGTON (AP) - Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court, has died, leaving the high court without its conservative majority and setting up an ideological confrontation over his successor in the maelstrom of a presidential election year. Scalia was 79. Scalia was found dead Saturday morning at private residence in the Big Bend area of West Texas, after he'd gone to his room the night before and did not appear for breakfast, said Donna Sellers, speaking for the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington. The cause of death was not immediately known. A gray hearse was seen at the entrance to the Cibolo Creek Ranch, near Shafter, on Saturday accompanied by an SUV.
In Zika-struck Brazil, a debate over whether to loosen the country's strict abortion laws has sparked a backlash from the mothers of children with birth defects RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Before her son was born, Danielle Alves didn't know Luiz Gustavo would have microcephaly, a condition that has left the 3-year-old so disabled he can't walk, talk or eat without help. Still, Alves says she would have gone ahead with the pregnancy even if she had known - and she thinks thousands of pregnant women caught up in Brazil's Zika virus outbreak should be required to do the same. "I know it's very difficult to have a special needs child, but I'm absolutely against abortion," said Alves, who lives in Vitoria da Conquista, a city in the impoverished northeastern region where Brazil's tandem Zika and microcephaly outbreaks have been centered.
Hopes of securing a temporary truce in Syria within a week have dimmed, with Russia's foreign minister putting the chances at less than 50 percent MUNICH (AP) - Hopes of securing a temporary truce in Syria within a week dimmed Saturday as Syrian government forces tightened the noose around rebel-held parts of Aleppo and Russia's foreign minister put the chances of a quick truce at less than 50 percent. His comments and strong words from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry underscored deep U.S.-Russian disagreements over Syria. Further complicating the picture, Turkey's foreign minister said his country and Saudi Arabia may launch ground operations against the Islamic State group in Syria, Turkish media reported Saturday. Diplomats from countries with interests in Syria's five-year civil war - including the United States, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia - agreed Friday to work toward a temporary "cessation of hostilities" within a week.