Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 p.m. EDT

March 17, 2018 - 12:00 am


Bridge victim's grieving uncle lashes out at 'incompetence'

MIAMI (AP) — A grieving uncle is lashing out against what he called a "colossal failure" that allowed a partially completed pedestrian bridge to collapse and kill his niece along with at least five other people.

Joe Smitha, whose niece, Alexa Duran, was crushed in Thursday's collapse at Florida International University, says he can't help but believe that the tragedy could have been avoided.

Authorities say six people were killed Thursday when the structure fell onto a busy six-lane road connecting the campus to the community of Sweetwater.

Workers continued to dig through the rubble Saturday. Late that night, police said they believe all the victims' bodies have been recovered.


The Latest: AP source says McCabe kept notes on Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that the recently fired FBI deputy director kept personal memos detailing interactions with President Donald Trump. And they have been provided to the special counsel's office.

The memos kept by former FBI official Andrew McCabe are similar to the notes compiled by dismissed FBI chief James Comey. They could factor into the special counsel's investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia.

The AP learned of McCabe's notes from a person with direct knowledge of the situation who wasn't authorized to discuss the notes publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Earlier Saturday, Trump called McCabe's firing by Attorney General Jeff Sessions "a great day for Democracy."

In response, former CIA Director John Brennan accused Trump of "venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption."


The Latest: St Patrick's Day Parade has sunny, inclusive day

NEW YORK (AP) — The luck of the Irish held throughout one of the world's longest parades as the 257th running of the St. Patrick's Day parade was carried out under sunny skies.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it was his pleasure to march Saturday with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Ireland's first openly gay leader.

The Democratic governor noted it wasn't that long ago when parade organizers had gone to the courts in multiple years to try to block gay marchers from participating.

But those fights in the 1990s have given away to more inclusion. This year, at least two groups in the parade had banners identifying marchers as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The parade lasted nearly six hours and featured more than100 marching bands and an estimated 150,000 marchers.


Talks on trillion-dollar US budget bill reach crucial stage

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top-level congressional talks on a $1.3 trillion catchall spending bill are reaching a critical stage as negotiators confront immigration, abortion-related issues and a battle over a massive rail project.

The bipartisan measure is loaded with political and policy victories for both sides. Republicans and President Donald Trump are winning a long-sought budget increase for the Pentagon while Democrats obtain funding for infrastructure, the opioid crisis and a wide swath of domestic programs.

The bill would implement last month's big budget agreement, providing 10 percent increases for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies when compared with current levels. Coupled with last year's tax cut measure, it heralds the return of trillion-dollar budget deficits as soon as the budget year starting in October.


NCAA Latest: Evans breaks tie with 3, Texas Tech in Sweet 16

Keenan Evans, who has said he treats every game like senior night and doesn't want to be done, scored 22 points and hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with less than three minutes left as third-seeded Texas Tech beat Florida 69-66 on Saturday night.

While the next loss will end All-Big 12 guard Evans' career, high-flying freshman Zhaire Smith is just getting started.

Smith had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and was on the receiving end of an alley-oop pass from Evans with 29 seconds left for a punctuating dunk to send the Red Raiders (26-10) to Boston.

Chris Chiozza then drove for a layup for the Gators with 25 seconds left, and Evans tried to split a double-team on the inbound. Florida gathered the ball after a wild scramble, and Egor Koulechov and KeVaughn Allen both had 3-pointer attempts in the final 10 seconds that came up short.


The Latest: Russian presidential vote kicks off in Far East

MOSCOW (AP) — Polls have opened in Russia's Far East regions for the presidential election in which Vladimir Putin is seeking a fourth term in the Kremlin.

Voting started at 8 a.m. Sunday (2000 GMT Saturday; 4 p.m. EDT Saturday) in Russia's Chukotka and Kamchatka regions. Voting concludes at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT; 2 p.m. EDT Sunday) in Kaliningrad, the Baltic exclave that is Russia's westernmost region.

With Putin guaranteed to win another term despite facing seven challengers, authorities are conducting get-out-the-vote efforts to ensure a good turnout. Some Russian workers say they are coming under intense pressure to prove to their employers that they have voted.


The Latest: Firm employed by Trump campaign tapped Facebook

WASHINGTON (AP) — A data analysis firm employed by President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign tapped the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, allowing it to capitalize on the private social media activity of a large portion of the U.S. electorate, newspapers reported Saturday.

One of the largest data leaks in Facebook history allowed Cambridge Analytica, which had ties to Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon, to develop techniques that formed the basis of its work on the Trump campaign, The New York Times and The Guardian reported.

Facebook said it suspended Cambridge Analytica over allegations that it kept the improperly obtained user data after telling Facebook it had been deleted.

Facebook is suspending Cambridge Analytica, a data-analysis firm that worked for the Trump campaign, while it investigates whether the company held onto improperly obtained user data after telling Facebook it had deleted the information.

The social network said in a blog post that the firm violated its policies by receiving user data from a Facebook app created by a University of Cambridge professor.

But while Cambridge Analytica certified in 2015 that it had destroyed the wayward data, Facebook said, the social network received reports "several days ago" that not all the data was deleted.

Cambridge Analytica claims to build psychological profiles based on personal details from millions of Americans that can categorize individual voters. The company has surfaced on several occasions in probes of 2016 Russian election interference.


Lawmakers say UK should consider postponing Brexit

LONDON (AP) — A key committee of British lawmakers says the U.K. should consider postponing Brexit because there may not be enough time to strike a deal with the European Union before Britain leaves the bloc a year from now.

The Exiting the EU Committee says if major aspects of the future relationship remain unsettled by October, Britain should seek a "limited extension" of its EU membership.

Britain and the EU want to seal a deal on their future relations by the fall, so national parliaments can approve it before Britain's official exit day: March 29, 2019.

In a report published Sunday, the lawmakers say a proposed transition period of about two years should also be capable of being extended.

Seven pro-Brexit lawmakers on the 21-member, all-party committee refused to back the report.


US probes 4 deaths in Hyundai-Kia cars when air bags failed

DETROIT (AP) — Air bags in some Hyundai and Kia cars failed to inflate in crashes and four people are dead. Now the U.S. government's road safety agency wants to know why.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it's investigating problems that affect an estimated 425,000 cars made by the Korean automakers. The agency also is looking into whether the same problem could happen in vehicles made by other companies.

The agency says the probe covers 2011 Hyundai Sonatas and 2012 and 2013 Kia Fortes. The agency has reports of six front-end crashes with significant damage. Six other people were injured.

The problem has been traced to electrical circuit shorts in air bag control computers made by parts supplier ZF-TRW. NHTSA will investigate whether other automakers used the same computer.


Vatican bows to pressure, releases retired pope's letter

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has bowed to pressure and released the complete letter by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis after coming under criticism for selectively citing it in a press release and digitally manipulating a photograph of it.

The previously hidden part of the letter provides the real explanation why Benedict refused to provide commentary on a new compilation of books about Francis' theological and philosophical background.

Benedict noted that one of the authors had launched "virulent," ''anti-papist" attacks against his papacy and teaching. He said he was "surprised" the Vatican picked this theologian to be included in the 11-volume "The Theology of Pope Francis."

The Vatican said Saturday it was releasing the full text of the letter due to the controversy over the "presumed manipulation" of information when the volume was launched Monday.

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