Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment:

March 24, 2017 - 4:02 am


Trump threatens to walk away from health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is threatening to leave "Obamacare" in place and move on to other issues if a House vote on a Republican replacement health care plan fails on Friday.

The outcome of the planned vote is impossible to predict.

Even after a long day of talks Thursday, both conservative and moderate lawmakers claimed the bill lacked the votes.


Maryland high school thrust into immigration debate

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — A Maryland high school has been thrust into the national immigration debate after a 14-year-old student said she was raped in a school bathroom by two classmates. One is an 18-year-old from Guatemala who came to the U.S. illegally.

Protesters on both sides of the debate converged on a nearby elementary school Thursday during a visit by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

And the White House has weighed in on the incident, saying the president has made a crackdown on illegal immigration a priority "because of tragedies like this."


Car stolen with 2 toddler boys inside in Palm Springs area

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. (AP) — Police in Southern California say a car has been stolen with a 1-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy inside who are now missing.

Cathedral City police say the two brothers were in a Honda Accord that was stolen on Thursday night. The boys were in their babysitters' car when she stepped out for an errand and someone stole it.

An Amber Alert has been issued for the white, four-door 2016 Accord with license plate 7TJR654.

The alert says the boys are 1-year-old Jayden Cortez and 2-year-old Carlos Cortez.

Police say they have no information on the suspect.

Cathedral City is about 7 miles southeast of Palm Springs and about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles.


Israel arrests hacker linked to threats on US Jewish centers

JERUSALEM (AP) — A 19-year-old American-Israeli Jew is accused in a wave of bomb threats against U.S. Jewish community centers.

The threats had stoked fears of rising anti-Semitism in the United States.

The man's name isn't being released, but he's described as a hacker who holds dual Israeli and American citizenship.

Israeli police say during an arrest raid, the 19-year-old tried to grab an officer's gun but was stopped by another officer.


UN report: Sanctions disrupt humanitarian aid to North Korea

TOKYO (AP) — International sanctions on North Korea are taking a serious toll on humanitarian aid activities, according to a United Nations-led report.

The report issued this week by the U.N.'s senior resident official in Pyongyang said sanctions are inadvertently hindering legitimate operations on the ground and have indirectly contributed to a "radical decline" in donations it said are badly needed by millions of North Korean women and children.

It said "chronic food insecurity, early childhood malnutrition and nutrition insecurity" continue to be widespread in the North, which it noted ranked 98th out of 118 countries in the 2016 Global Hunger Index.

More than 10 million people — or about 41 percent of the North Korean population — are undernourished, it said.


Former Manafort deputy, inauguration official leaves group

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Trump campaign official is leaving an outside group set up to promote President Donald Trump's policies.

In a tweet, the America First Policies group says Rick Gates is "on to more ventures" but doesn't explain the reason for his departure.

Gates was a deputy to Paul Manafort, one of the Trump campaign associates whose ties to Russia are being scrutinized. The Associated Press reported that Manafort secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago.

Gates helped run the inauguration and has been seen inside the White House on a number of occasions.

The outside group is organized as a nonprofit, meaning it does not have to disclose its donors. Its leaders say they have primarily been working on fundraising.


Justice investigating California GOP congressman

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is investigating California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter for possible campaign violations.

The House Ethics panel has been investigating allegations that Hunter improperly used campaign funds to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, such as trips to Hawaii and Italy and tuition for Hunter's school-age children.

The panel said in a statement Thursday that it is delaying the inquiry at the request of the Justice Department.

Hunter won a fifth term last year representing the San Diego area.

Hunter's lawyers said Thursday he and his wife repaid the campaign about $60,000 and said Hunter intends to cooperate with the government investigation.


Lawsuits blaming Saudi Arabia for 9/11 get new life

NEW YORK (AP) — Family members of 9/11 families and others harmed in the terrorist attacks are on a fresh quest to hold Saudi Arabia responsible.

Lawyers for thousands of family members of the dead and other victims have filed over a dozen lawsuits since September. That's when Congress overrode a veto by former President Barack Obama to pass a law making it easier to sue Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said it was not responsible. Its lawyers have not responded to new lawsuits, but are expected to submit papers by June seeking dismissal of the suits.

A magistrate judge presiding over a Thursday hearing says she hopes to streamline the legal process to speed the lawsuits along.


Crews set to load ferry onto transport ship

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean salvage crews have raised a sunken, 6,800-ton ferry high enough out of the water so they can load it onto a transport vessel that will carry it to a port.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said Friday that the upper side of the Sewol, which had been lifted from the seafloor where it was lying sideways, was now 13 meters (42 feet) above the water's surface.

Workers will now attempt to load the ferry onto a semi-submersible transport vessel.

They aim to finish that by late Friday as currents are forecast to strengthen on Saturday.


Investigator who leaked chokehold officer's records resigns

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York police watchdog group investigator who leaked disciplinary records on the officer involved in the police chokehold death of Eric Garner has resigned.

Civilian Complaint Review Board secretary Jerika Richardson says the agency swiftly identified the source of the leak. The investigator resigned Thursday when faced with termination over the leaking of Officer Daniel Pantaleo's records to Thinkprogress.org.

The investigator worked for the agency for less than a year and wasn't publicly identified.

The agency investigates claims of police misconduct and offers disciplinary suggestions to the police department.

The leaked records showed Pantaleo had eight misconduct cases, four substantiated. His union applauds the resignation.

Garner was an unarmed black man. His 2014 death at the hands of a white policeman sparked protests.

A medical examiner cited a chokehold in Garner's death. The officer denied using a chokehold.


Deliberations to resume in Penn State ex-president's trial

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Jurors will resume deliberating Friday in the trial of former Penn State president Graham Spanier, who faces charges related to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case.

Spanier is accused of conspiracy and two counts of endangerment for his handling of complaints about the former assistant football coach more than 15 years ago.

Spanier was forced out as university president in 2011.

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