Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

March 25, 2017 - 12:24 pm

CONGRESS-HEALTH OVERHAUL-OBAMACARE

UPDATE: Trump tweets 'Do not worry!'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is sounding an optimistic note after the House failed to act on the Republican health care overhaul bill.

Trump tweeted today that "ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE." He added, "Do not worry!"

House Speaker Paul Ryan called off yesterday's vote on the bill to repeal and replace "Obamacare" when it became clear that there weren't enough votes to pass it. He later said, "We're going to be living with 'Obamacare' for the foreseeable future."

Trump blamed Democrats for the failure and repeated his dire predictions for the Obama-era law. "It's imploding, and soon will explode, and it's not going to be pretty," he said.

In the meantime, Trump and Ryan plan to turn their attention to the first major re-write of the tax code in more than 30 years.

KASICH-BALANCED BUDGET

NEW: Republican John Kasich leads charge for balanced budget vote

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican John Kasich (KAY'-sik) is not abandoning his goal of a federal balanced-budget amendment. The Ohio governor says it's ever more important as the U.S. national debt ticks toward $20 trillion.

Kasich tells The Associated Press the issue isn't partisan but critical to sustained economic prosperity.

As a 2016 presidential contender, Kasich pledged to balance the federal budget within eight years. He hasn't let his failed White House dampen his passion on the issue. He helped persuade Wyoming last month to become the 29th state to request a balanced budget convention. With 34 needed, he's turning next to Idaho, Arizona, Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

The John Birch Society is among opposition groups. It calls a constitutional convention "a potentially disastrous event" for one of the nation's founding documents.

CANADA-PIPELINE

NEW: Canada determined to diversify despite Keystone XL approval

TORONTO (AP) — Canada's natural resource minister says his government is happy the Keystone XL pipeline has finally been approved by the White House, but he notes that obstacles remain and Canada remains determined to diversify its oil exports beyond the United States.

Minister Jim Carr told The Associated Press on Saturday that President Donald Trump's approval of the pipeline is "good news." But he says there are other important projects like the recently approved TransMountain pipeline that will allow for exports to Asia. Ninety-eight percent of Canada's oil exports now go to the U.S.

TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline received a presidential permit Friday, but Carr expects protests and notes it still needs a permit from the state of Nebraska.

Carr will meet with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Washington on Thursday.

IRAQ

Iraq: Speaker voices concern over Mosul airstrike

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's parliament speaker has expressed concern over reports of airstrikes that have allegedly killed more than 100 civilians in western Mosul where U.S.-backed government troops are fighting the Islamic State group.

In tweets published on his official account, speaker Salim al-Jabouri said Saturday "we realize the huge responsibility the liberating forces shoulder" and call on them to "spare no effort to save the civilians." Al-Jabouri is a prominent Sunni Muslim politician in Iraq.

It was unclear who carried out the airstrikes, but on Friday the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria said it was investigating the allegations. Residents reported two airstrikes hitting a residential area on March 13 and 17.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry has provided no immediate comment.

SYRIA

Airstrikes across rebel-held Syria kill and wound scores

BEIRUT (AP) — Opposition activists say warplanes have struck rebel-held parts of Syria, killing and wounding scores of people.

The activists say the airstrikes come amid clashes on multiple fronts between government forces and insurgent groups in some of the worst violence to hit the country in weeks.

The airstrikes, of which some activists said included Russian air raids, concentrated on the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib, the central province of Hama and suburbs of the capital Damascus that have come under attack by insurgent groups over the past week.

One of the airstrikes hit a main street in the Damascus suburb of Hamouriyeh killing at least 16 people and wounded more than 50, activists said. The airstrikes caused wide destruction in the area.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrikes killed 16, including eight women and children, and wounded more than 50. The Local Coordination said 18 were killed and dozens were wounded.

Both groups said some people are still missing, and that the death toll could rise.

EUROPE-SUMMIT

27 EU leaders toast Europe's future, its people

ROME (AP) — The leaders of the European Union's 27 remaining countries have toasted Europe and its united people.

At a Quirinal Palace luncheon in Rome, Italian President Sergio Mattarella lifted his crystal wine glass and invited guests who had just finished an EU summit in Rome to join him in a toast to "our Europe, to the union of our peoples."

The 60th anniversary of the signing in Rome of EU's founding treaty comes days before Britain formally signals the beginning of its exit.

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker used his own pen instead of a summit-supplied pen to sign a summit declaration committing the 27 countries to build the bloc's future through a united front.

Later, the European Commission president pulled the pen out of his jacket pocket and showed it off with a flourish, saying "I'm keeping it."

BRITAIN-BREXIT

Thousands in London take to streets to protest Brexit plan

LONDON (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators are gathering under sunny skies in central London to protest plans for Britain to withdraw from the European Union.

The Unite for Europe march included many carrying EU flags just days before Britain is expected to begin its formal divorce from the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 Wednesday, setting the process in motion. Negotiations are expected to take at least two years.

The substantial march follows by three days an attack on Parliament. Organizers considered delaying the march but decided to go ahead.

Organizers said in a statement that "we will not be intimidated. We will stand in unity and solidarity."

Britain voted in a June 23 referendum to leave the EU.

CHILDREN KILLED

N. Carolina father accused of killing newborn, toddler

RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina father is accused of stabbing his infant and toddler daughters to death.

Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin says 30-year-old Tillman Freeman III of Fayetteville is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 4-day-old Genesis Freeman and 2-year-old Serenity Freeman. Their bodies were found early Saturday near an intersection near Raeford.

Peterkin tells the Fayetteville Observer (http://bit.ly/2n4qjoV ) the children were stabbed multiple times with what appears to be a hunting or survivalist-type knife. He called the crime "horrific."

Before they were found, Freeman was arrested and charged with child abuse and child endangerment. The children were reported missing following a domestic dispute. Freeman's wife was in a local hospital when the children disappeared.

It's not clear whether Freeman has an attorney.

CHILD STRUCK-DRIVER SHOT

Ohio police: Driver shot, killed after hitting boy, 4

CINCINNATI (AP) — Police in Cincinnati say a driver was shot and killed after his car hit a 4-year-old boy who ran into the street.

Investigators say they believe the driver got out of his car after hitting the child Friday and a confrontation broke out.

Police say 44-year-old Jamie Urton was shot several times and a passenger suffered minor injuries in the fight but was not shot.

The child hit by the car was hurt but is expected to be OK.

Police say they're looking for three suspects. They say it's not clear yet if any other circumstances led to the shooting just outside downtown Cincinnati.

ROOFTOP HOPPING-DEATH

NEW: 13-year-old boy dies in fall from NY roof; 2nd teen injured

NEW YORK (AP) — New York police say a 13-year-old boy was killed and another teenager was injured as they tried to hop along rooftops in Brooklyn and plunged about four stories to the ground.

The boys were found in the back of the building in Bushwick about 5:30 p.m. Friday. The 13-year-old had severe trauma to his head and body. His 15-year-old friend had pelvic injuries but was expected to live.

Neighbors told the Daily News of New York that teens who don't live in the building climb to the top and hang out. A couch was set up on the roof. The two didn't live in the building.

In January last year, a 15-year-old girl died after she tried to jump from one rooftop to another in Manhattan and fell five stories.

AMBULANCE DRIVER KILLED

Funeral set for NY medic who died when run over by ambulance

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of mourners are packing a Bronx church for the funeral for an emergency medic killed last week when she was run over by her own ambulance.

Yadira Arroyo (yah-DEER'-ah) was killed March 16 responding to a call. Police say a man got into the truck when she got out and she was run over.

The mother of five was a 14-year veteran of the department. She was beloved by colleagues at her station house and in her Bronx community. Arroyo was a dedicated EMT who responded to calls even during asthma attacks and was a mother figure to her co-workers.

Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro says the outpouring of support shows the respect people have for their fallen colleague. He said she lived and died as a hero.

ELDERLY PASSENGERS-FLIGHT MIX-UP

NEW: Elderly couple on wrong flight; end up in NY, not Michigan

(Information in the following story is from: WPLG-TV, http://www.local10.com/index.html)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A 96-year-old woman and an 89-year-old man were wheeled to the wrong gate at a South Florida airport and ended up on a flight to upstate New York instead of Michigan.

Helen Wheeker and her husband, George Nobel, ended up Ogdensburg, New York instead of Grand Rapids, Michigan after being put on the wrong Allegiant Air flight on Wednesday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

South Florida television station WPLG (http://bit.ly/2n2lKe8 ) reports that Allegiant Air spokeswoman Hilarie Grey blamed a malfunctioning boarding-pass scanner for not catching the mix-up.

Grey apologized for the mistake and says the couple has been given a full refund.

The couple flew back to Fort Lauderdale and planned to try again to fly to Michigan on Saturday.

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