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

March 25, 2017 - 7:40 am


Epic collapse of GOP health care bill puts effort into limbo

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans passed roughly 60 bills over the past six year dismembering President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. They knew the measures would go nowhere with the Democrat still in the White House.

With a bill that counted Friday, they choked. It was an epic, self-inflicted collapse that leaves the effort dead for now.

The drive represented the GOP's first genuine opportunity to repeal Obama's statute. That's because President Donald Trump is serving alongside a Congress controlled by the GOP.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan shelved the bill to avert a certain defeat. He faced defections from centrist Republicans who thought the bill went too far and conservatives who considered it too weak, plus solid Democratic opposition.

Ryan says he believes Obama's law will continue "for the foreseeable future."


Trump says he's open to negotiating with Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he would be willing to reopen negotiations for a health care bill with Democrats if the Affordable Care Act fails.

Trump told reporters Friday that he would be "open to it" if Democrats wanted to work on a bipartisan measure. He predicted the current law would soon collapse.

The president says he has a great relationship with the Republican Party and isn't going to speak badly about GOP lawmakers. Still, he said he was a little surprised by the bill's rejection from the conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus.

Trump also said he "never said repeal and replace it within 64 days," though he repeatedly promised during the campaign to do it on Day One of his term.

Democrats, loyal defenders of former President Barack Obama's law, were literally jumping for joy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., removed her shoes and took a victory leap while meeting activists outside the Capitol.


NEW: Many governors welcome demise of GOP health care bill

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The demise of the GOP health care replacement plan was welcome news for many governors, including Republicans in states that expanded Medicaid under former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Those states had faced the prospect of seeing billions of federal dollars disappear.

The impact of the Republican plan would have been most pronounced in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health coverage to lower-income people.

Several states estimated that they would have to come up with billions of extra dollars to fill the gap or see the number of uninsured swell.

Four Republican governors wrote congressional leaders a letter calling for a different approach.


UPDATE: EU enshrines multi-speed Europe in declaration

ROME (AP) — European Union leaders have signed the Rome declaration which has enshrined the principle of a multi-speed bloc, where some nations can move ahead while others stay on the sidelines on specific issues.

The declaration signed by 27 nations said that "we will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary, while moving in the same direction."

The EU has often done that in practice in the past, with only 19 nations in the eurozone and not all members participating in the Schengen zone of borderless travel.


Pope puts focus on peripheries during Milan pastoral visit

MILAN (AP) — Pope Francis began his one-day visit to the world's largest diocese with a stop in a housing project on the city's outskirts, emblematic of his view that the peripheries offer a better view of reality than the well-tended and prosperous city centers.

The pope told thousands of faithful assembled that it was important for the Roman Catholic Church "not to remain in the center to wait, but to go toward everyone, in the peripheries, to go toward also non-Christians and non-believers."

The housing project on the edge of Italy's wealthy finance and fashion capital is home to more than 1,000 people, including many elderly and foreigners living on the margins of society.

It is the fifth papal visit to Milan, the world's largest parish with 5 million faithful, including two by Pope John Paul II and one by Pope Benedict the XVI.


Saudi embassy confirms UK attacker had been in Saudi Arabia

LONDON (AP) — The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London says that the Westminster attacker was in the country three times and taught English there.

A statement released late Friday says Khalid Masood taught English in Saudi Arabia from November 2005 to November 2006 and again from April 2008 to April 2009.

The embassy says he had a work visa. It says he returned for six days in March 2015.

The embassy says he wasn't tracked by Saudi security services and didn't have a criminal record there.

Before taking the name Masood, he was known as Adrian Elms. He was known for having a violent temper in England and had criminal convictions.

Masood drove an SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a policeman. He was shot dead.


Former Palestinian prisoner found shot dead in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A former Palestinian prisoner whom Israel sent to Gaza after his release has been found shot dead at the entrance of his house in Gaza City.

Mazen Faqha belonged to Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza.

Hamas says Faqha was shot four times in the head with a silenced gun late Friday. It blamed Israel for "assassinating" him, but provided no proof to support that accusation.

Faqha was sentenced to nine terms of life imprisonment for directing suicide bombing attacks against Israelis.

He was freed along with more than 1,000 other prisoners as part of an exchange in 2011 that released captive Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. Faqha was among dozens of West Bank residents Israel deported to Gaza or elsewhere because of the severity of their crimes.


Murder sentence affected by lack of body

HONOLULU (AP) — A judge in Hawaii says he refrained from ordering an enhanced sentence against a man in the murder of his pregnant, ex-girlfriend because her body was never found and it was unclear how she died.

Judge Joseph Cardoza sentenced Steven Capobianco on Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the 2014 murder of Carly "Charli" Scott.

The jury that convicted Capobianco agreed that the killing was especially heinous, so Cardoza could have sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole.

But the judge suggested Capobianco could successfully appeal that finding because it's not known exactly how Scott died.

Maui Prosecuting Attorney J.D. Kim says he's disappointed but understands the reasoning of the judge.


Officer convicted of manslaughter in boy's death

MARKSVILLE, La. (AP) — Jurors have convicted a Louisiana law enforcement officer of manslaughter in a shooting that killed a 6-year-old autistic boy.

Multiple news outlets report the jury late Friday found Derrick Stafford guilty on manslaughter and attempted manslaughter charges. Stafford had been indicted on charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

Stafford and another deputy city marshal opened fire on a car, killing Jeremy Mardis and critically wounding his father after a car chase in Marksville on Nov. 3, 2015.

Video from a police officer's body camera shows the father, Christopher Few, had his hands raised inside his vehicle while the two deputies fired.

Stafford testified he shot at the car because he feared Few was going to back up and hit the other deputy, Norris Greenhouse Jr.

Greenhouse faces a separate trial later this year.


Montana bill seeks abortion ban on 'pain-capable' fetuses

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Senate on Friday advanced a proposal seeking to extend protections to so-called "pain-capable" fetuses.

If approved, Montana would join more than a dozen states adopting laws protecting pain-capable fetuses.

The measure is one of a pair of anti-abortion bills that continued moving through the Montana Legislature. Earlier in the week, a House committee further advanced a bill that would effectively ban all abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy by requiring doctors to save a fetus.

Opponents decried both measures as attacks on a woman's right to choose an abortion.

Proponents of both bills acknowledged the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that affirmed abortion rights, but they argued that federal law allows states to carve out their own abortion rules.


Public memorial service to honor Fisher and Reynolds

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stars and fans will gather Saturday for a public memorial to honor late actresses Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.

The ceremony honoring the lives of the mother-daughter duo will be held at the Hollywood Hills cemetery that is their final resting place. People will be granted attendance at the event on a first-come, first-served basis and it will also be live-streamed on www.debbiereynolds.com beginning at 1 p.m. Pacific.

The ceremony is expected to feature music by James Blunt and "Star Wars" composer John Williams.

Fisher and Reynolds died one day apart in late December. Fisher died several days after falling ill on an international flight, and Reynolds died of a stroke.

Stars including Meryl Streep, Tracey Ullman and Stephen Fry mourned the actresses at a private memorial in January.


NEW: Canada pulls vehicle license plate deemed offensive

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — A Canadian provincial government has withdrawn a man's eponymous personalized vehicle license plate, saying Lorne Grabher's surname is offensive to women when viewed on his car bumper.

Grabher said Friday that he put his last name on the license plate decades ago as a gift for his late father's birthday, and says the province's refusal to renew the plate late last year is unfair.

Grabher says the Nova Scotia government is discriminating against his name.

Transport Department spokesman Brian Taylor says while the department understands Grabher is a surname with German roots, this context isn't available to the general public who view it.

The personalized plate program introduced in 1989 allows the province to refuse names when they're deemed offensive, socially unacceptable and not in good taste.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()