US sets new visa rules for 6 mainly Muslim nations, refugees WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration on Wednesday set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a "close" family or business tie to the United States. The move came after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump's executive order that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims. Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department say that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible.
Q&A: Border officers take key role in enforcing travel ban SAN DIEGO (AP) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will be key players in putting President Donald Trump's revised travel ban into effect on Thursday, affecting visitors from six mostly Muslim countries. They are the officers dressed in blue who are stationed at airports and border crossings and screen people coming into the U.S. They stamp passports, inspect travel documents, confiscate drugs and other illicit items and make sure belongings and purchases are properly declared. Customs and Border Protection officers were embroiled in chaos when an earlier version of President Donald Trump's travel ban took effect, forcing them to turn away visa holders who were later allowed in.
Vatican cardinal denounces sex assault charges against him VATICAN CITY (AP) - Australian police charged a top Vatican cardinal on Thursday with multiple counts of "historical" sexual assault offenses, a stunning decision certain to rock the highest levels of the Holy See. Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' chief financial adviser and Australia's most senior Catholic, said in an early morning appearance at the Vatican that he would take a leave of absence as the Vatican's finance czar and would return to Australia to fight the charges. He denied the accusations and denounced what he called a "relentless character assassination" in the media. Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official to ever be charged in the church's long-running sexual abuse scandal.
Watch Top News Video
Selling the GOP health care bill: Does Trump help or hurt? WASHINGTON (AP) - It was a platform most politicians can only hope for: A captivated, 6,000-person crowd and more than an hour of live, prime-time television coverage to hype the Republican vision for a new health care system. But when President Donald Trump got around to talking about the Republican plan - about 15 minutes into his speech - he was wildly off message. Instead of preaching party lines about getting the government out of Americans' health decisions and cutting costs, he declared: "Add some money to it!" The moment captured a major dilemma for Republicans as they look for ways to jumpstart their stalled health care overhaul.
Little progress evident as GOP hunts health bill votes WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explored options for salvaging the battered Republican health care bill Wednesday but confronted an expanding chorus of GOP detractors, deepening the uncertainty over whether the party can resuscitate its bedrock promise to repeal President Barack Obama's overhaul. A day after McConnell, short of votes, unexpectedly abandoned plans to whisk the measure through his chamber this week, fresh GOP critics popped forward. Some senators emerged from a party lunch saying potential amendments were beyond cosmetic, with changes to Medicaid and Obama's consumer-friendly insurance coverage requirements among the items in play. "There's a whole raft of things that people are talking about, and some of it's trimming around the edges and some of it's more fundamental," said Sen.
China's Xi in Hong Kong for anniversary as protests planned HONG KONG (AP) - Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in Hong Kong Thursday to mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of Beijing re-establishing sovereignty over the former British colony, accompanied by a formidable layer of security as authorities braced for protests. Xi's Air China plane touched down at midday for the three-day visit. The trip culminates Saturday with Xi overseeing an inauguration ceremony for the Asian financial hub's new leader, Carrie Lam. Pro-democracy activists staged protests ahead of his visit and more were expected, including an annual march through the streets on Saturday that has drawn big crowds in the past. Hong Kong authorities were taking no chances with disruptions and deployed heavy security across the city.
Supreme Court bars chief prosecutor from leaving Venezuela CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's Supreme Court barred the nation's chief prosecutor from leaving the country and ordered her bank accounts frozen hours after she delivered a scathing critique accusing President Nicolas Maduro of "state terrorism." The government-stacked court announced Wednesday evening that it was proceeding with a complaint filed by a socialist party lawmaker accusing Luisa Ortega Diaz of acting as a de facto opposition leader in violation of her constitutional duties. The development came as authorities pressed a nationwide manhunt for a police investigator accused of stealing a police helicopter and sending grenades and gunfire at the Supreme Court and Interior Ministry on Tuesday night.
US quietly publishes once-expunged papers on 1953 Iran coup DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Once expunged from its official history, documents outlining the U.S.-backed 1953 coup in Iran have been quietly published by the State Department, offering a new glimpse at an operation that ultimately pushed the country toward its Islamic Revolution and hostility with the West. The CIA's role in the coup, which toppled Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh and cemented the control of the shah, was already well-known by the time the State Department offered its first compendium on the era in 1989. But any trace of American involvement in the putsch had been wiped from the report, causing historians to call it a fraud.
US demands more security on international flights to US WASHINGTON (AP) - The Homeland Security Department is demanding that airlines around the world step up security measures for international flights bound for the United States or face the possibility of a total electronics ban for planes. Compliance with the new rules could lead to the lifting of a ban on laptops and other large electronics already in place for airlines flying to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa. It could also stave off a much-discussed expansion of the ban to flights from Europe. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced the rollout of the new rules Wednesday.
Report: More than half of hate crimes in US go unreported WASHINGTON (AP) - The majority of hate crimes experienced by U.S. residents over a 12-year period were not reported to police, according to a new federal report released Thursday that stoked advocates' concerns about ongoing tensions between law enforcement and black and Latino communities. More than half of the 250,000 hate crimes that took place each year between 2004 and 2015 went unreported to law enforcement for a variety of reasons, according to a special report on hate crimes from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Hate crimes were most often not reported because they were handled some other way, the report said.