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

March 13, 2017 - 9:58 pm


Democrats call budget report a 'knockout blow'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic leaders in Congress say new projections of the impact of Republicans' health insurance bill should be a "knockout blow."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Speaker Paul Ryan should pull the bill from consideration, saying, "It's really the only decent thing to do."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the report from the Congressional Budget Office demonstrates that the bill means higher costs and less coverage for consumers.

Monday's estimate by the CBO says that under the GOP proposal now moving through the House, there would be 24 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under current law.

The Democrats say White House criticism of the CBO report fits a disturbing pattern. Schumer says, "When they hear something they don't like, they label it a lie."


Panel says it could subpoena wiretap evidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House intelligence committee says it could resort to subpoenaing the Justice Department if it fails to answer its request for any evidence that President Donald Trump was wiretapped during the election.

The committee set Monday as the deadline for getting the information, but the Justice Department says it needs more time.

The committee now says it wants the information in hand before March 20 when it holds its first public hearing on its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

A spokesman for committee chairman Devin Nunes of California, Jack Langer, says the committee might subpoena the information if the Justice Department fails to answer its questions.


Ethics office is asked to assess Trump's deals

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is asking a government ethics office to assess whether President Donald Trump's business dealings make his administration vulnerable to conflicts of interest.

In a letter to the Office of Government Ethics, the Pennsylvania lawmaker says Trump's refusal to divest from his companies has exposed the administration to conflicts of interest on an "unprecedented scale."

Casey asks whether any of Trump's foreign deals could violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The clause prohibits U.S. officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign countries.

The director of the ethics office, Walter Shaub, strongly criticized Trump for not divesting earlier this year. Shaub said Trump was breaking decades of tradition by presidents who set up blind trusts for their assets.


US disputes Hawaii's travel ban lawsuit claims

SEATTLE (AP) — The federal government is disputing claims made by the state of Hawaii in its lawsuit against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban.

Hawaii says the ban which goes into effect Thursday will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students.

Ismail Elshikh is a plaintiff in the state's challenge and says the ban will prevent his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting.

The federal government on Monday asked the court to deny a temporary restraining order request to prevent the ban from going into effect.

The U.S. government says Hawaii's allegations of negative impacts for tourism and universities are pure speculation.

It also says neither Elshikh's nor his mother-in-law have suffered any harm because she has not been denied a waiver for a visa to visit the United States.

A federal judge in Honolulu will hear arguments Wednesday.

In a separate suit, six other states are seeking a hearing before a federal judge in Seattle tomorrow. In a complaint filed today, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the new ban is unconstitutional and harms state residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have joined Washington in the legal action.


Merkel postpones visit to meet with Trump due to weather

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel has postponed her trip to Washington to visit with U.S. President Donald Trump due to a late-winter storm expected in the Northeast U.S.

Merkel had been scheduled to arrive late Monday night for meetings with Trump on Tuesday but called off the trip at the last minute due to the weather, her office said.

German media reported she was rescheduling the trip for Friday but her office would only say it would take place soon.


Snow expected to blanket Northeast

NEW YORK (AP) — A big blast of winter weather is expected to blanket much of the Northeast in heavy snow just days before the official start of spring.

A blizzard warning has been issued for New York City and parts of northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut from Monday overnight through much of Tuesday, with wind gusts of up to 55 mph possible and low visibility.

New York City could get up to 18 inches of snow, with Boston seeing a similar amount and Philadelphia slated to get up to a foot. Up to 10 inches could fall in Washington, D.C.

The airline-tracking site FlightAware says more than 3,000 Tuesday flights are already canceled. Some school systems, including New York City, also aren't planning to open Tuesday.

Spring starts March 20.


Prosecutor says Ferguson video heavily edited

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch says a documentary film crew heavily edited store surveillance video footage of Michael Brown in the early hours of the day he was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

At a news conference Monday, McCulloch dismissed the footage from the documentary "Stranger Fruit." Filmmakers and others say the video suggests Brown, a black 18-year-old, didn't rob a convenience store before a white Ferguson officer, Darren Wilson, shot him on a neighborhood street in August 2014.

The footage shows Brown inside Ferguson Market & Liquor in the early hours of Aug. 9, 2014, leaving behind cigarillos he was later accused of stealing. The filmmakers allege Brown traded marijuana for the cigarillos in the footage shown in the documentary.

McCulloch says there was never an attempt to hide this footage from the public. He says references to this visit by Brown to the store were in the report released in November 2014 when a St. Louis County grand jury declined to charge Wilson in Brown's shooting.


Feds give $8 million for Pulse nightclub massacre costs

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The federal government is designating $8 million to help victims and first responders to the Pulse nightclub shooting.

The U.S. Justice Department said Monday that it was giving the money to the State of Florida to pay for grief counseling and reimburse the costs of running an assistance center after the massacre.

Gunman Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during the attack at the gay nightclub in Orlando last June 12.

The deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history left 49 people dead and dozens more wounded.


WFP seeks $460 million more for Yemen to prevent famine

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The head of the World Food Program says the agency is racing against time to prevent famine in war-scarred Yemen.

Ertharin Cousin said Monday that 7 million people face severe food shortages.

She says that without increased international funding and more access to the hungry, "we will see famine-like conditions" and that people will die in some of the hardest-hit areas.

Cousin spoke in Jordan after a three-day visit to Yemen.

The agency says it urgently needs $460 million through August as well as access by sea and land to help all 7 million people who cannot survive without food aid.

The Arab world's poorest country has been ravaged by a two-year-old conflict between Houthi rebels and an internationally recognized government. The fighting has left more than 10,000 civilians dead.


Jurors questioned for trial of deputy in boy's shooting

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A state prosecutor is asking prospective jurors if they can set aside any potential biases if picked for the murder trial of a deputy in the fatal shooting of a 6 year-old boy.

One of the questions Assistant Attorney General John Sinquefield has asked potential jurors is whether or not race could influence their decisions. The accused deputy, Derrick Stafford, is black, while the boy and his father are white.

Lawyers for Stafford and another black law enforcement officer awaiting a separate trial in the shootings have accused prosecutors of a rush to judgment. Jonathan Goins, Stafford's attorney, said he thinks that would not have happened if the officers had been white.


Governor suspends councilman accused of domestic violence

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Gov. Henry McMaster has suspended a Columbia city councilman accused of slamming his estranged wife's leg in a car door after they argued.

The Republican governor issued an executive order Monday suspending Moe Baddourah while he faces a charge of second-degree domestic violence. Baddourah says the accusation is false.

The state's constitution allows the governor to suspend an officeholder indicted for a "crime involving moral turpitude." McMaster says domestic violence is such a crime. He says the order "in no manner addresses" Baddourah's guilt or innocence.

A grand jury indicted Baddourah in January for the alleged incident last summer.

Baddourah says it's "troubling that the governor would suspend a public official for an alleged misdemeanor without a conviction." He says the charge is part of a divorce and custody case.

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