Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 12:20 a.m. EDT

March 30, 2017 - 12:26 am


The Latest: Attorney general: Religious freedom affirmed

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii's attorney general says a federal judge's decision to extend an order blocking President Donald Trump's travel ban affirms values of religious freedom.

State Attorney General Douglas Chin says Wednesday's longer-lasting ruling means that Muslims and refugees will face less uncertainty.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson granted Hawaii's request to extend his previous temporary block of provisions that would suspend new visas for six Muslim-majority countries and halt the nation's refugee program.

Watson rejected the government's request to narrow his ruling to apply only to the six-nation ban. Watson is stopping the government from enforcing both provisions until he orders otherwise.

Attorneys for the government didn't immediately return requests for comment.

Watson issued his 24-page ruling several hours after a hearing on Hawaii's request.


Latest: 13th bus passenger dies from crash injuries

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Authorities say a 13th passenger from a church bus has died after the bus and a pickup truck collided head-on on a Texas highway.

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Johnny Hernandez confirmed that the person died at a San Antonio hospital. Hernandez said the bus driver and 11 passengers died at the scene of the crash. There were 14 total aboard the bus.

Hernandez said the lone survivor from the bus was hospitalized in critical condition, while the pickup truck driver was hospitalized in stable condition.

The bus was carrying senior adult members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas, home from a three-day retreat.


Park arrives at Seoul court for hearing on arrest request

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's former president has arrived at a court for hearing on a prosecutors' request for her arrest for corruption.

Live TV footage showed Park Geun-hye entering the Seoul Central District Court building on Thursday. She did not comment to reporters.

After she is questioned, the court is expected to decide by Friday morning whether to approve her arrest.

If the court approves the arrest warrant, Park will be immediately sent to a detention facility as prosecutors can detain her for up to 20 days before laying formal charges.

Prosecutors accuse Park of colluding with a confidante to extort money from businesses and commit other wrongdoings.

The Constitutional Court ruled to dismiss Park over the allegations earlier in March, three months after parliament impeached her.


Pedestrian deaths spiked in 2016, distraction cited

WASHINGTON (AP) — An analysis of preliminary state data shows pedestrian deaths are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 deaths last year — the highest total in more than two decades.

A report prepared for the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices, says increased driving due to an improved economy and lower gas prices and more walking for exercise and environmental reasons are some likely reasons behind the estimated 11 percent spike in pedestrian fatalities in 2016.

But researchers say the biggest factor may be more drivers and walkers distracted by cellphones and other devices, although that's hard to confirm.

Richard Retting, the report's author, says walking and miles driven are up only a few percentage points, but texting and use of wireless devices have exploded.


The Latest: Mexican man freed from detention thankful

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Mexican man who was detained despite his participation in a program designed to prevent the deportation of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children says he's happy to be reunited with his family.

Daniel Ramirez Medina was freed from detention Wednesday in Tacoma, Washington. A judge ordered his release until his next immigration court hearing.

In a statement, the 24-year-old Ramirez said he was "happy" and "thankful for the support that I've gotten from everyone who helped me and for the opportunity to live in such an amazing country."


The Latest: Ambassador says UK will remain key world player

LONDON (AP) — Britain's ambassador to the U.N. says the United Kingdom may be leaving the European Union but it isn't leaving Europe and will remain a major player on the world stage including at the United Nations.

Matthew Rycroft says Britain's presence on the world stage is in many ways reflected at the U.N. Security Council, where the U.K. has a permanent seat and where he was presiding Wednesday as this month's president of the U.N.'s most powerful body.

He says, "I see it as an important responsibility, part of our identity."

Rycroft stresses that Britain will remain engaged on foreign and security policy and continue to be "a leading player on international development, human rights and everything else that the United Nations does."

Britain will negotiate its exit from the EU over the next two years, and Rycroft says he anticipates that the U.K. will remain aligned with the rest of the EU and work closely with its members at the United Nations and elsewhere.


Poll: Public dislikes Trump's, GOP's plans on health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — Note to President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans: People really don't like your approach to overhauling America's health care. If you're hoping to revive your plan, you may want to try something different.

That's according to a poll by The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that was released Wednesday.

Sixty-two percent of Americans turned thumbs down on Trump's handling of health care during the initial weeks of his presidency. It was his worst rating among seven issues the poll tested, which included the economy, foreign policy and immigration.

Of six changes the failed House GOP bill sought to make in former President Barack Obama's health care law, five drew more negative than positive reviews.


Ivanka Trump to become official White House employee

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ivanka Trump is joining her father's administration as an official employee.

The first daughter announced Wednesday that she will serve as an unpaid employee in the White House. She said she has "heard the concerns some have with my advising the President in my personal capacity."

Trump previously announced she was getting a West Wing office and a security clearance, but would not officially join the administration. That decision had drawn criticism from ethics experts.

Trump attorney Jamie Gorelick said she will file the financial disclosures required of federal employees and will be bound by ethics rules.

In a statement, the White House said it was "pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step ..." The news about Ivanka Trump was first reported by The New York Times.


Sentenced to jail, Christie aide says she won't be scapegoat

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Two former aides to New Jersey's governor have been sentenced to jail for creating traffic jams at the busiest bridge in the United States for political revenge, bringing the case to a close.

But appeals and a pledge from one of them that the fight isn't over promise to keep the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal hanging over Republican Gov. Chris Christie's final year in office.

Bridget Kelly told reporters after she was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday that she won't be a scapegoat.

Her attorney pointed out that her testimony that she told Christie about the traffic jams while they were happening was never contradicted.

Christie hasn't been charged and denies that Kelly told him about the lane closures.

Co-defendant Bill Baroni was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison.


The Latest: Feds extend deadline for first border wall bids

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government has extended its deadline for companies to bid on the first contracts for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the six-day extension to April 4 will allow companies time to consider answers to dozens of questions that potential bidders submitted ahead of Wednesday's initial deadline. Earlier this month, the agency published requests for proposals for wall that would be 30 feet (9 meters) high and easy on the eye for those looking at it from the north.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Tuesday that administration officials informed her staff that next year's budget will request $2.6 billion to build less than 75 miles (120 kilometers) of wall.


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