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AP Top News at 12:39 a.m. EST

Haitians face hurdles after protected status renewal delays
BOSTON (AP) - Thousands of Haitian immigrants living in the U.S. legally will face employment and travel hurdles because President Donald Trump's administration delayed the process of re-registering those with temporary protected status, Haitian community leaders and immigrant activists say. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will release details Thursday about the next steps for the 60,000 Haitians with the special status, an agency spokeswoman told The Associated Press. But the information comes too late to help the thousands of Haitians who hold immigration documents that show their legal and work status expiring Monday, said immigrants and advocates, some of whom wondered - in light of the president's recent remarks about Haiti - if the bureaucratic slowdown was deliberate.


Trump to Pennsylvania, but don't call it a campaign trip
President Donald Trump is tiptoeing around the first congressional election of the new year as he heads to southwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday to hail the Republican tax cuts he signed last year. Trump will appear with the Republican nominee for a Pittsburgh-area House seat. But the White House said Trump won't mention Rick Saccone in his remarks. And the event isn't actually in the 18th Congressional District, which holds the special election March 13. Democrats, meanwhile, aren't necessarily any more confident in the chances that lawyer and former Marine Conor Lamb can flip the district to their side. The handling of the race shows both sides' reluctance to put too much emphasis on one contest amid the high stakes of this midterm election year.


Pope wraps up Chile stop with visit to migrants, on to Peru
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Pope Francis wraps up his Chile visit Thursday by meeting with members of the South American nation's booming immigrant community, who are flocking to the region's strongest and most stable economy but are increasingly the focus of political and social discontent. After an emotional meeting with Chile's Mapuche indigenous in the south Wednesday, Francis is going to the northern city of Iquique, which is home to nearly two dozen migrant slums. He plans to celebrate Mass there before heading to Peru for the final leg of his two-nation trip. Francis has long called for countries to welcome migrants and refugees fleeing war, drought or hardship - a message that often falls on deaf ears in Europe, where the migrant crisis has been a driving factor on politics for years.


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WH claiming sweeping 'executive privilege' in Russia probes
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's White House is relying on a sweeping interpretation of executive privilege that is rankling members of Congress on both sides of the aisle as current and former advisers parade to Capitol Hill for questioning about possible connections with Russia. The White House's contention: Pretty much everything is off limits until the president says it's not. The argument was laid bare this week during former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's interview with the House Intelligence Committee. As lawmakers in the closed-door session probed Bannon's time working for Trump, his attorney got on the phone with the White House counsel's office, relaying questions and asking what Bannon could tell Congress, according to a White House official and a second person familiar with the interview.


13 siblings held captive were likely coerced to remain quiet
LOS ANGELES (AP) - When a 17-year-old girl jumped out a window from the house where her parents allegedly starved and tortured their 13 children, she broke a silence that had likely lasted years. It's not clear why the teenager waited so long to act, but psychiatrists say such behavior is not uncommon even in cases of extreme deprivation. Most people would recognize milder forms of the same inaction that is a coping mechanism, whether it's failing to speak out against off-color jokes, enduring sexual harassment or staying in an awful marriage, said Dr. Bruce Perry. "This happens all the time.


Lawmakers ask if states or feds should alert about missiles
HONOLULU (AP) - Nearly 40 terrifying minutes passed between the time Hawaii officials fired off a bogus alert about an incoming missile over the weekend and the moment the notice was canceled. The state was slow to contain the situation, waiting 23 minutes to call officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get unnecessary approval to send a retraction. That call lasted for about one minute, a state emergency official said Wednesday, but residents and visitors still didn't receive the corrected alert until about 14 minutes later. The confusion - and panic - have raised questions about whether any state should be solely responsible for notifying the public of such an event - especially as Washington and North Korea trade insults and threats.


Slow-moving winter storm leaves lingering effect in South
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Several Southern states will be dealing with the lingering effects of a slow-moving winter storm that dumped a half-foot (15 centimeters) of snow on North Carolina's largest cities, dusted the Deep South and killed at least 10 people. From Charlotte to Raleigh, North Carolina's five most populous cities all saw significant snow from a system that followed an atypical west-to-east path across the state - and moved more slowly than forecasters had predicted. By late Wednesday afternoon, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Durham each had more than 6 inches (15 centimeters), while some places saw as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters)


Apple banks on tax break to build 2nd campus, hire 20,000
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple is planning to build a new corporate campus and hire 20,000 U.S. workers in an expansion driven in part by a tax cut that will enable the iPhone maker to bring an estimated $245 billion back to its home country. The pledge announced Wednesday comes less than a month after Congress approved a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code championed by President Donald Trump that will increase corporate profits. Besides dramatically lowering the standard corporate tax rate, the reforms offer a one-time break on cash held overseas. Apple plans to take advantage of that provision to bring back most of its roughly $252 billion in offshore cash, generating a tax bill of about $38 billion.


Aziz Ansari story sparks heated debate over #MeToo Movement
The #MeToo movement has been embraced by legions of women as a vital step toward countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct. This week, more so than at any point in the movement's brief history, there's visceral discussion about its potential for causing harm. The catalyst was the publication by Babe.net of an account by a woman identified only as "Grace" detailing her 2017 encounter with comedian Aziz Ansari. The article intimated that Ansari deserved inclusion in the ranks of abusive perpetrators, yet many readers - women and men - concluded the encounter amounted to an all-too-common instance of bad sex during a date gone awry.


Upsets continue as heat rises: Muguruza, Konta out
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza struggled with the heat and Hsieh Su-wei's game before losing 7-6 (1), 6-4 on Day 4 as the upsets intensified at the Australian Open. No. 3-ranked Muguruza follows Venus Williams and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens out of the tournament in the first week, leaving only three major winners still in the women's draw - and two of them could meet in the third round. Muguruza had five double-faults, including one to give No. 88-ranked Hsieh a match point, and made 43 unforced errors. She needed a medical time out in the first set, and accidently hit a ball into a line judge in frustration.