Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 10:20 p.m. EDT

June 16, 2018 - 12:00 am

IMMIGRATION POLITICS

Republicans risking conservative backlash over immigration

NEW YORK (AP) — The push toward immigration votes in the House is intensifying the divide among Republicans on one of the party's most animating issues. And it's fueling concerns a voter backlash could cost the GOP control of the House in November.

To many conservatives, the compromise immigration proposal released by House Speaker Paul Ryan is little more than "amnesty."

The tension threatens to exacerbate the GOP's political challenges this fall, when their majorities in the House and Senate could be at risk.

Passage of the bill could alienate conservatives and depress turnout at a time when enthusiasm among Democrats is high.

Yet scuttling the bill could turn off independent voters, an especially important bloc for House Republicans competing in dozens of districts that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.

IMMIGRATION-ASYLUM

New directive takes aim at immigrants fleeing gang violence

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — A directive by Attorney General Jeff Sessions imposes new rules on asylum seekers coming to the U.S. They are generally no longer allowed to request asylum on the grounds of gang violence.

The decision could have far-reaching consequences because of the sheer volume of people fleeing gang violence, which is so pervasive in Central America that merely stepping foot in the wrong neighborhood can lead to death.

Many immigrants congregated on the border this week told The Associated Press that they were coming here to flee gangs in Mexico and Central America. They were undeterred by the directive because the situation is so dire in their home countries.

COLOMBIA-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Ex-rebel looks to defy odds in Colombia presidential race

ZIPAQUIRA, Colombia (AP) — Gustavo Petro began his long ascent to the cusp of Colombia's presidency in this self-built barrio named after South American independence hero Simon Bolivar.

In 1983, equipped with little more than a shovel and a surplus of revolutionary ideals, the then-clandestine militant led some 400 squatter families in a months-long battle with authorities to secure a plot of land to build their ramshackle homes here in Zipaquira, north of Bogota. Their rallying cry was: "A roof and a dignified life."

Thirty five years later, the founders of the "Bolivar 83" barrio still living in the slum celebrate Petro's rise as their own. The leftist candidate will run against Ivan Duque Sunday in Colombia's presidential runoff.

"He taught us to call each other comrades, not neighbors," remembers Ana Miriam Chitiva.

MCCAIN SEAT

Despite cancer, McCain's maverick ways press on in tweets

PHOENIX (AP) — Sen. John McCain's legacy was thrust into focus nearly one year ago when he announced his brain cancer diagnosis. The six-term Senator and decorated Vietnam War veteran is now fighting the illness from his beloved Arizona.

He's also filling the role of one of the few Congressional Republican voices to publicly rebuke Trump administration decisions. McCain's maverick ways press on in statements and tweets from Arizona.

Some Arizona Republicans criticize discussion about the future of McCain's seat as inappropriate and distasteful. State law requires the governor to fill a Senate vacancy with an appointee of the same political party who will serve until the next general election.

Reflections around his life, legacy and status as a national political figure are re-emerging due to a new HBO documentary and his latest memoir, "The Restless Wave."

VENEZUELA-NIGHTCLUB BRAWL

17 killed after nightclub brawl in Caracas

CARACAS,Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's government says 17 people were killed Saturday after a nightclub brawl led to a stampede.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said eight minors were among those killed. Another five people were injured.

He said a tear gas device exploded after the fight broke out during a graduation celebration at "Los Cotorros" club, triggering the stampede.

He also said seven people were arrested, including the owner of the club and the person who is believed to have launched the explosive device.

RUSSIA-TAXI CRASH

8 pedestrians injured by taxi on sidewalk near Red Square

MOSCOW (AP) — Police in Moscow say eight people have been injured when a taxi crashed into pedestrians on a sidewalk near Red Square.

Police say the driver in the crash Saturday has been detained. Preliminary information indicated the driver lost control of the vehicle.

There were no immediate details on the severity of the pedestrians' injuries.

The accident took place on Ilinka Street, about 200 meters (650 feet) from Red Square and Moscow's famous GUM shopping arcade.

Russia is currently hosting the World Cup and Moscow is one of 11 Russian cities where tournament games are being played.

COOLING TOWERS IMPLOSION

Cooling towers set for implosion at Florida power plant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Two 462-foot-tall cooling towers are set to be imploded in Florida.

A Total Wrecking & Environmental news release says the identical towers will be imploded simultaneously Saturday morning at St. Johns River Power Park in Jacksonville. They will be the second tallest cooling towers to be imploded in the world.

The release says Jacksonville Electric Authority and Florida Power & Light contracted Total Wrecking & Environmental to handle the implosion of the cooling towers and demolition of the power park for $14.5 million. The project is expected to be completed in April 2020.

Preparation took about 10 weeks for the implosion, which is expected to last less than 12 seconds. More than 1,500 pounds of dynamite and 12,000 linear feet of detonation cord are being used.

The St. Johns River Power Park, a 1,264-megawatt, coal-fired electric plant, was closed in January.

MUSIC-JAY-Z-BEYONCE-ALBUM

Jay-Z, Beyonce release surprise album 'Everything Is Love'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jay-Z and Beyonce are keeping up a family tradition, dropping a surprise album before anyone knew it was coming.

The couple released a joint album that touches on the rapper's disgust at this year's Grammy Awards and features a shout out from their daughter Blue Ivy to her siblings.

The nine-track album "Everything Is Love" dropped Saturday on the Tidal music streaming service that Jay-Z partially owns.

The album features Beyonce rapping on songs more than she has done on previous releases.

One song that features a profanity in its title includes Jay-Z lashing out at the Grammys. He was the top nominee at February's awards show, but left empty-handed.

In 2013, Beyonce released the self-titled album "Beyonce" without any notice.

VATICAN-ABORTION

Pope denounces abortion as modern-day 'white glove' eugenics

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has denounced abortion as the "white glove" equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program and urged families to accept the children that God gives them.

Francis spoke off-the-cuff Saturday to a meeting of an Italian family association. The Vatican didn't immediately provide a transcript of his remarks, but the ANSA news agency and the SIR agency of the Italian bishops' conference quoted him as denouncing pre-natal tests that can result in parents choosing to terminate a pregnancy if the fetus is malformed or suffering other problems.

The agencies quoted Francis as saying: "Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves."

He urged families to accept children "as God gives them to us."

GREECE-MACEDONIA-THE LATEST

The Latest: Greek lawmakers reject no-confidence vote

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek lawmakers have rejected a no-confidence motion in the government brought by the main opposition party over a deal to change the name of Macedonia and end a decades-old dispute with Greece's northern neighbor.

Lawmakers voted 153-127 in the 300-member parliament Saturday against the motion to oust the left-led government over the deal renaming the former Yugoslav republic North Macedonia.

One lawmaker from the government's junior coalition partner, the nationalist Independent Greeks, voted in favor of the move. The party is a vociferous critic of the name deal. The party's leader, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, kicked the lawmaker out of the party.

The deal aims to end a dispute that has roiled the two countries' relations since Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

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