Speaker again, Pelosi sees 'new dawn' for 116th Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cheering Democrats returned Nancy Pelosi to the House speaker's post Thursday as the 116th Congress ushered in a historically diverse freshman class eager to confront President Donald Trump in a new era of divided government.
Pelosi, elected speaker 220-192, took the gavel saying U.S. voters "demanded a new dawn" in the November election that swept the Democrats to a House majority and are looking to "the beauty of our Constitution" to provide checks and balances on power. She faced 15 dissenting votes from fellow Democrats.
For a few hours, the promise of a new era was the order of the day. The new speaker invited scores of lawmakers' kids to join her on the dais as she was sworn in, calling the House to order "on behalf of all of America's children."
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Even Trump congratulated her during a rare appearance at the White House briefing room, saying her election by House colleagues was "a tremendous, tremendous achievement." The president has tangled often with Pelosi and is sure to do so again with Democrats controlling the House, but he said, "I think it'll be a little bit different than a lot of people are thinking."
As night fell, the House quickly got to work on the partial government shutdown, which was winding up Day 13 with Trump demanding billions in Mexican border wall funding to bring it to an end. Democrats approved legislation to re-open the government — but without the $5.6 billion in wall money, which means it has no chance in the Republican Senate.
Day 13: Dems pass funding plan without wall, Trump digs in
WASHINGTON (AP) — On their first day in the majority, House Democrats on Thursday night passed a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump's promised border wall.
The largely party-line votes came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room pledging to keep up the fight for his signature campaign promise.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump and Senate Republicans should "take yes for an answer" and approve the border bill, which was virtually identical to a plan the Senate adopted on a voice vote last month.
"We're not doing a wall. Does anyone have any doubt that we're not doing a wall?" Pelosi told reporters at a news conference Thursday night.
Pelosi, who was elected speaker earlier Thursday, also took a shot a Trump, calling his proposal "a wall between reality and his constituents."
Stocks take a beating after iPhone sales slip; Dow falls 660
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks tumbled Thursday on Wall Street, with technology companies suffering their worst loss in seven years, after Apple reported that iPhone sales are slipping in China.
The rare warning of disappointing results from Apple stoked investors' fears that the world's second-biggest economy is losing steam and that trade tensions between Washington and Beijing are making things worse. The sell-off also came after a surprisingly weak report on U.S. manufacturing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 660 points, or 2.8 percent, and the broader S&P 500 index fell 2.5 percent.
Apple stock plummeted 10 percent, wiping out more than $74 billion of the company's market value. That's almost as much as Starbucks is worth and more than Lockheed Martin, Lowe's, Caterpillar, General Electric or Morgan Stanley.
Other major exporters, including heavy-machinery manufacturers and tech companies like Intel and Microsoft, also took big losses.
7 killed after fiery crash, fuel spill on Florida highway
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Two big rigs and two passenger vehicles collided and spilled diesel fuel across a Florida highway Thursday, sparking a massive fire that killed seven people, authorities said.
The wreck happened on Interstate 75 about a mile (1.6 kilometers) south of Alachua, near Gainesville. The flames were fed by about 50 gallons (189 liters) of diesel, authorities said.
Several others were taken to the hospital, some with critical injuries, the Gainesville Sun reported. Authorities initially said six had died but late Thursday night revealed a seventh victim had perished.
Emergency crews extinguished the fire and said they were treating the crash as a homicide investigation, but didn't say why. The fire was so intense that authorities said it damaged parts of the road.
A spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol told The Associated Press in a phone interview that their top priorities were to conduct a thorough investigation and to identify the deceased victims.
China lunar probe sheds light on the 'dark' side of the moon
BEIJING (AP) — China's burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone on Thursday: landing a probe on the mysterious and misnamed "dark" side of the moon.
Exploring the cosmos from that far side of the moon, which people can't see from Earth, could eventually help scientists learn more about the early days of the solar system and maybe even the birth of the universe's first stars.
Three nations — the United States, the former Soviet Union and more recently China — all have sent spacecraft to the side of the moon that faces Earth, but this landing is the first on the far side. That side has been observed many times from lunar orbit, but never up close.
The China National Space Administration said the 10:26 a.m. touchdown of the Chang'e 4 craft has "opened up a new chapter in human lunar exploration."
A photo taken at 11:40 a.m. and sent back by Chang'e 4 shows a small crater and a barren surface that appears to be illuminated by a light from the lunar explorer. Its name comes from that of a Chinese goddess who, according to legend, has lived on the moon for millennia.
AP Exclusive: Big jump in US Catholic dioceses naming names
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Over the past four months, Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. have released the names of more than 1,000 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children in an unprecedented public reckoning spurred at least in part by a shocking grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, an Associated Press review has found.
Nearly 50 dioceses and religious orders have publicly identified child-molesting priests in the wake of the Pennsylvania report issued in mid-August, and 55 more have announced plans to do the same over the next few months, the AP found. Together they account for more than half of the nation's 187 dioceses.
The review also found that nearly 20 local, state or federal investigations, either criminal or civil, have been launched since the release of the grand jury findings. Those investigations could lead to more names and more damning accusations, as well as fines against dioceses and court-ordered safety measures.
"People saw what happened in these parishes in Pennsylvania and said, 'That happened in my parish too.' They could see the immediate connection, and they are demanding the same accounting," said Tim Lennon, national president of the board of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
The recently disclosed accusations date back six or seven decades in some cases, with the oldest from the 1910s in Louisiana. Most of the priests were long ago removed from ministry. An AP examination found that more than 60 percent are dead. In most cases, the statute of limitations for bringing criminal charges or suing has run out.
Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines, dies at 87
DALLAS (AP) — Not many CEOs dress up as Elvis Presley, settle a business dispute with an arm-wrestling contest, or go on TV wearing a paper bag over their head.
Herb Kelleher did all those things. Along the way, the co-founder and longtime leader of Southwest Airlines also revolutionized air travel by practically inventing the low-cost, low-fare airline.
Kelleher died on Thursday. He was 87. Southwest confirmed his death but did not indicate the cause.
In the late 1960s, the nation's airlines were a clique of venerable companies that offered onboard dining, movies and other amenities to make flying pleasant but pricey. Fares approved by federal regulators made air travel a luxury that few could afford.
Kelleher was a lawyer in San Antonio in 1967 when a client, Rollin King, came to him with the idea for a low-fare airline that would fly between San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Kelleher guided Southwest through a thicket of legal obstacles thrown up by other airlines, and the new carrier began flying in 1971.
Detecting depression: Phone apps could monitor teen angst
Rising suicide rates and depression in U.S. teens and young adults have prompted researchers to ask a provocative question: Could the same devices that some people blame for contributing to tech-age angst also be used to detect it?
The idea has sparked a race to develop apps that warn of impending mental health crises. Call it smartphone psychiatry or child psychology 2.0.
Studies have linked heavy smartphone use with worsening teen mental health. But as teens scroll through Instagram and Snapchat, tap out texts or watch YouTube videos, they also leave digital footprints that might offer clues to their psychological well-being.
Changes in typing speed, voice tone, word choice and how often kids stay home could signal trouble, according to preliminary studies.
There might be as many as 1,000 smartphone "biomarkers" for depression, said Dr. Thomas Insel, former head of the National Institute of Mental Health and now a leader in the smartphone psychiatry movement.
Powerful Chicago council member charged in federal probe
CHICAGO (AP) — One of the most powerful and longest-serving City Council members in Chicago history appeared in federal court Thursday on a charge that he tried to shake down a major fast-food restaurant chain seeking city remodeling permits.
Alderman Ed Burke, 75, is charged with one count of attempted extortion for conveying to company executives in 2017 that they'd get the permits only if they signed on as clients at Burke's private property-tax law firm in Chicago, a 37-page complaint unsealed on Thursday says.
For many Chicagoans suspicious of dealings behind closed doors at City Hall, Burke has personified the city's machine politics for decades. Dozens of aldermen have entered U.S. District court on corruption charges, but Burke seemed too powerful, too wealthy and too savvy to land himself in the kind of legal trouble he now faces.
He sat in a packed Chicago federal courtroom Thursday afternoon with his arms folded, wearing his trademark pinstriped suit with a pocket square. Minutes later, he stood before U.S. Magistrate Sheila Finnegan, who asked if he understood the charge and that a conviction could carry a lengthy prison sentence.
"Yes, your honor," he answered calmly.
North Korean envoy to Italy vanishes _ did he defect?
ROME (AP) — North Korea's top diplomat in Italy has gone into hiding along with his wife, according to a South Korean lawmaker, raising the possibility of a defection of a senior North Korean official.
The news came from South Korea's spy agency, which briefed lawmakers in Seoul on Thursday on the status of North Korea's acting ambassador to Italy, Jo Song Gil. It said he went into hiding with his wife in November before his posting to Italy ended late that month.
A high-profile defection by one of North Korea's elite would be a huge embarrassment for leader Kim Jong Un as he pursues diplomacy with Seoul and Washington and seeks to portray himself as a geopolitical player.
South Korean lawmaker Kim Min-ki said an official from Seoul's National Intelligence Service shared the information during a closed-door briefing. Kim did not say whether the spy agency revealed anything about Jo's current whereabouts or whether he had plans to defect to South Korea.
Kim said the NIS said it has not been contacted by Jo.