End to government shutdown in sight as Dems halt filibuster WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress sped toward reopening the government Monday, as Senate Democrats dropped their objections to a temporary funding bill in return for assurances from Republicans leaders that they will soon take up immigration and other contentious issues. Senate Republican leader McConnell's commitment to quickly tackle the issue of immigrant "Dreamers" was contingent on Democrats providing enough votes now for a stopgap spending measure lasting a little less than three weeks. The measure needed 60 votes, and Democrats provided 33 of the 81 it got. Eighteen senators, including members of both parties, were opposed. Before the government can reopen the Senate must vote on final passage, the House must approve in turn, and President Donald Trump must sign the measure.
Schumer's 'cave'? Shutdown deal puts spotlight on Dem leader WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans tried to make Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer the face of the government shutdown. Now, he's becoming the face of the Democratic retreat. For two days, Schumer, perhaps the most powerful Democrat in Washington, succeeded in keeping his party unified in a bid to use the government funding fight to push for protections for some 700,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. But as the shutdown moved into its third day, the New York Democrat and his party buckled as several Democrats backed a deal to end the shutdown in exchange for a Republican pledge to address the immigration debate in the near future.
Judge: Victims of sports doc are 'sister survivor warriors' LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The judge overseeing the sentencing of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar said Monday that more than 100 girls and women who had given statements so far at the five-day hearing were "sister survivor warriors." "I want to you know that your face and the face of all of the sister survivor warriors - the whole army of you - I've heard your words," Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said after a woman spoke in her Michigan courtroom. "Your sister survivors and you are going through incomprehensible lengths, emotions and soul-searching to put your words together, to publicly stop (the) defendant, to publicly stop predators, to make people listen."
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Fighting rages amid Turkish push in Kurdish enclave in Syria HASSA, Turkey (AP) - Intense fighting flared Monday as Turkish troops and their allies advanced on a Kurdish enclave in northwestern Syria, the third day of Ankara's offensive to oust a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia from the area, according to the militia and a war monitoring group. Skirmishes between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters also broke out farther east in Syria, threatening to widen the scope of the new front in the Syrian war that pits Turkey against Washington's main ally in the region. The Turkish ground and air offensive on Afrin, codenamed "Operation Olive Branch," began Saturday, raising tensions in the already-complicated Syrian conflict and threatening to further strain ties between Turkey and the U.S., both NATO allies.
VP defends Trump over vulgar remarks on African immigrants JERUSALEM (AP) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday defended President Donald Trump over his recent comments disparaging immigration from Africa and Haiti, telling The Associated Press that the president's "heart" is aimed at a merit-based system that is blind to immigrants' "race or creed." Pence, in an interview with the AP from Jerusalem, said the president was intent on implementing a merit-based system that encourages immigration by those who will "contribute to a growing American economy and thriving communities." "I know the president's heart and I know that what President Trump wants to do is reform immigration to make our system one that puts the interests of America first," Pence said.
Beset by traffic via navigation apps, town restricts access LEONIA, N.J. (AP) - A town less than two miles from the George Washington Bridge is putting up the "keep out" sign for motorists seeking a shortcut to the world's busiest span. As a response to navigation apps that re-route some of the tens of thousands of vehicles headed to the bridge each morning, the New Jersey town of Leonia started barring the use of side streets to non-residents during the morning and evening commutes Monday. Violators could face a $200 fine. Local officials and police have said the decision isn't a hasty one and that they've done extensive studies of traffic patterns.
15-year-old girl shot at Texas school; boy, 16, arrested ITALY, Texas (AP) - A 15-year-old student in Texas was injured in a shooting in her high school cafeteria Monday morning and a 16-year-old boy, also a student at the school, was taken into custody, sheriff's officials said. The girl was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas following the shooting in the town of Italy, some 45 miles (70 kilometers) south of Dallas, said Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald of the Ellis County Sheriff's Office. Fitzgerald said he did not know how many students were in the cafeteria at Italy High School when the shooting happened at about 7:50 a.m. Lee Joffre, superintendent of the Italy Independent School District, which has about 600 students, said the shooter left the building immediately after opening fire.
US orders extra air cargo screening for flights from Mideast WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. authorities issued an emergency order Monday requiring additional screening of cargo on flights departing for the United States from five Mideast countries, citing a threat of terrorism. The Transportation Security Administration order is aimed at preventing terrorist attacks in response to "persistent threats to aviation," TSA said in a statement. The countries falling under this order are Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. The countries were chosen because of "demonstrated intent by terrorists groups to attack aviation from them," the statement said. TSA said most of the requirements of the emergency order are already being carried out voluntarily by airlines in some countries, but didn't identify the countries.
They are musical icons, but they've never won a Grammy Award NEW YORK CITY (AP) - Remember when the cast of the TV series "Glee" earned a Grammy nomination for their version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" at the 2011 Grammys, pitting them against Sade, Maroon 5 and Paramore? It's fair that you don't recall that moment - but guess who never earned a nomination for "Don't Stop Believin'''? Journey. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have never even earned a Grammy Award, and have only been nominated once in their entire career. They're one of many respected acts in music to have somehow been bypassed by the Grammys, despite much younger acts like Kanye West and Beyonce winning more than 20 awards each.
Doctor who aided hunt for bin Laden languishes, forgotten PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) - Shakil Afridi has languished in jail for years - since 2011, when the Pakistani doctor used a vaccination scam in an attempt to identify Osama bin Laden's home, aiding U.S. Navy Seals who tracked and killed the al-Qaida leader. Americans might wonder how Pakistan could imprison a man who helped track down the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Pakistanis are apt to ask a different question: how could the United States betray its trust and cheapen its sovereignty with a secret nighttime raid that shamed the military and its intelligence agencies? "The Shakil Afridi saga is the perfect metaphor for U.S-Pakistan relations" - a growing tangle of mistrust and miscommunication that threatens to jeopardize key efforts against terrorism, said Michael Kugelman, Asia program deputy director at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.