Under fire, Trump defends call to soldier's grieving family MIAMI (AP) - President Donald Trump emphatically rejected claims Wednesday that he was disrespectful to the grieving family of a slain soldier, as the firestorm he ignited over his assertions of empathy for American service members spread into a third contentious day. "I have proof," he insisted. The controversy over how Trump has conducted one of the most sacred of presidential tasks generated new turmoil in the White House. After one slain soldier's father accused the president of going back on a promise to send a check for $25,000, the White House said the money had been sent. Chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general whose son was killed in Afghanistan, was left angry and frustrated at the way the issue has become politicized.
Solace or silence? Not all families of fallen get Trump call WASHINGTON (AP) - Some got sympathy and solace. Some got silence. One got a promise of cash. Relatives of people who died in military service have recounted varied interactions with President Donald Trump in the difficult days and weeks after their loved one's death. Despite Trump's boast that he reaches out personally to all families of the fallen, interviews with families members did not support his claim. Some never heard from him at all, and a few who did came away more upset. The Associated Press reached out to the families of all 43 people who have died in military service since Trump became president and made contact with about half the families.
Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended EDGEWOOD, Md. (AP) - A man with a lengthy criminal past who showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded. Less than two hours later, Radee Labeeb Prince drove to a used car lot about 55 miles (90 kilometers) away in Wilmington, Delaware, and opened fire on a man with whom he had "beefs" in the past, wounding him, police said. The shooting rampage set off a manhunt along the Interstate 95 Northeast corridor. Police cruisers were stationed in medians, and overhead highway signs displayed a description of Prince's sport utility vehicle and its Delaware license plate.
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China's conflicted goals: Freer markets, more party control BEIJING (AP) - China's ruling Communist Party is expanding its role in business even as it promises freer markets and support for entrepreneurs on the eve of President Xi Jinping's second five-year term as leader. Party officials are tightening their control over state-owned enterprises and want a voice in how some foreign companies are run. State companies that dominate energy and other fields are being made even bigger through mergers. Some are forming ties with private sector success stories such as tech giants Alibaba and Tencent to draw on their skills. Beijing's conflicting goals are raising concerns that leaders might put off changes needed to reinvigorate a cooling economy that faces surging debt and trade tensions with Washington and Europe.
GOP, Dem senators push health deal as Trump keeps distance WASHINGTON (AP) - The authors of a bipartisan plan to calm health insurance markets said Wednesday they'll push the proposal forward, even as President Donald Trump's stance ricocheted from supportive to disdainful to arm's-length and the plan's fate teetered. "If something can happen, that's fine," Trump told reporters at the White House. "But I won't do anything to enrich the insurance companies because right now the insurance companies are being enriched. They've been enriched by Obamacare like nothing anybody has ever seen before." The agreement by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., on a two-year extension of federal subsidies to insurers that Trump has blocked gained an important new foe.
Recovery, reconstruction go slowly after Mexico earthquake MEXICO CITY (AP) - Wearing a hardhat, Rodrigo Diaz Mejia steps onto the hood of a crushed car and then gingerly into an apartment cracked open by the Sept. 19 earthquake. Inside he spots a photo of two young boys hanging on a wall spider-webbed with deep cracks. He puts it under his arm to carry it out for the family. For weeks, the mechanic by trade has been climbing through broken walls and over buckled floors in the increasingly unstable buildings of the Tokio 517 apartment complex in central Mexico City to emerge with prized photos, clothes and documents for grateful residents.
Letters from young Obama show a man trying to find his way WASHINGTON (AP) - A young Barack Obama questioned his place in the world and his racial identity, agonized over whether he'd make enough money as a community organizer, and lamented his incompatibility with his ex-girlfriend in 30 pages of letters he wrote to her that are now being archived by Emory University in Atlanta. The nine full letters, sent by Obama to his college girlfriend, Alexandra McNear, are being made public to researchers through Emory University's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library. The university has had the letters since 2014 but could only make them public now, officials said.
Study: Lower-income kids give more time to TV, digital media LOS ANGELES (AP) - Children in lower-income families spend more time watching TV and using electronic devices than kids in more affluent homes, according to a survey released Thursday. The report by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media on the viewing habits of more than 1,400 children nationwide age 8 and under found that less-affluent youngsters spend nearly three-and-a-half hours daily watching TV and using varied devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and video game players. By comparison, kids in higher-income homes spend just under two hours on such activities. The offspring of better-educated parents also spend less time with media (1 hour, 37 minutes) compared with children of those with less education (2 hours, 50 minutes).
Country stars honor shooting victims at CMT Artists show NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Singer Jason Aldean and other stars honored victims of a mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas instead of accepting awards at the CMT Artists of the Year show Wednesday night. The format of the show pivoted to focus on victims of the shooting, as well as those recovering from hurricanes and wildfires, with a night of somber tributes, inspirational anthems and voices lifted in harmony. Aldean, who was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the shooting occurred Oct. 1, stood side-by-side with the night's other award winners, including Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban, to dedicate the night to music fans.
Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut NLCS deficit to 3-1 CHICAGO (AP) - Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series. Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to help the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.