Security tight as France prepares for presidential vote PARIS (AP) - Early voting began overseas Saturday in France's most nail-biting election in generations, and the 11 candidates seeking to become the country's next president silenced their campaigns as required to give voters a period of reflection. Opinion polls pointed to a tight race among the four top contenders vying to get into the May 7 presidential runoff that will decide who becomes France's next head of state. But the polls also said that decision was largely in the hands of the one-in-three French voters who were still undecided. Polls opened in France's far-flung overseas territories but voting wouldn't start until Sunday on the French mainland.
Trump sons take helm of company, eye domestic expansion NEW YORK (AP) - Apprentices no more, Eric and Donald Trump Jr. are now at the helm of the Trump Organization and adjusting to the reality presented by their father's presidency. They're eyeing ways to use the new lease on the family fame by expanding the brand into parts of the United States that embrace him. Some business has slowed as a result of the pledge to stall international dealmaking while Trump is president. But a U.S. push is planned, and two new hotel chains are being considered - a four-star brand and a less luxurious line - possibly in states where Trump triumphed over Democrat Hillary Clinton last November.
Erin Moran, Joanie Cunningham in "Happy Days," dies at 56 NEW YORK (AP) - Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms "Happy Days" and "Joanie Loves Chachi," died Saturday at age 56. A statement from the sheriff's department in Harrison County, Indiana, said the dispatcher "received a 911 call about an unresponsive female. Upon arrival of first responders, it was determined that Erin Moran Fleischmann was deceased. An autopsy is pending." The dispatcher confirmed to The Associated Press that the woman was the actress, who had been married to Steven Fleischmann. "Such sad sad news. RIP Erin," ''Happy Days" star Ron Howard tweeted Saturday. "I'll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up TV screens." A Burbank, California, native, Moran began acting in TV and movies before she was 10 years old.
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AP FACT CHECK: Sessions tags wrong city for immigrant crimes SAN DIEGO (AP) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has highlighted the San Diego suburb of Escondido to illustrate how jurisdictions that limit cooperation with immigration authorities jeopardize public safety. Speaking at a news conference Friday along a border fence with Mexico, Sessions offered no evidence that 'sanctuary jurisdictions' or immigrants are responsible. And he failed to mention that the federal government has held up Escondido as a model for cooperation with immigration authorities. SESSIONS: "As you know too well here, Escondido's gang violence has jumped recently between two violent gangs warring for turf - more shootings, more guns, more terrorized neighborhoods.
Advocates fan out in global show of support for science WASHINGTON (AP) - The world saw brain power take a different form Saturday. From the Washington Monument to Germany's Brandenburg Gate and even to Greenland, scientists, students and research advocates rallied on an often soggy Earth Day, conveying a global message about scientific freedom without political interference, the need for adequate spending for future breakthroughs and just the general value of scientific pursuits. They came in numbers that were mammoth if not quite astronomical. "We didn't choose to be in this battle, but it has come to the point where we have to fight because the stakes are too great," said Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, who regularly clashes with politicians.
American tries to learn from United's mistakes in incident NEW YORK (AP) - Another day, another cellphone video of a conflict on an airplane. American Airlines said it grounded a flight attendant who got into a verbal confrontation with a passenger on a Friday flight from San Francisco to Dallas-Fort Worth. Spokeswoman Leslie Scott says the airline is looking into whether the male flight attendant violently took away a stroller from the female passenger just before she boarded a Friday flight from San Francisco to Dallas. He has been removed from duty in the meantime. In an age of cellphone videos and social media, airlines are learning the hard way that it is essential to deescalate tense situations that occur during air travel, even as there are more passengers, less room and fewer flight attendants than ever before.
Possible shutdown, health care quagmire awaiting Congress WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers returning to Washington this coming week will find a familiar quagmire on health care legislation and a budget deadline dramatized by the prospect of a protracted battle between President Donald Trump and Democrats over his border wall. Trump's GOP allies control Congress, but they've been unable to send him a single major bill as his presidency faces the symbolic 100-day mark on April 29 - the very day when the government, in a worst-case scenario, could shut down. Feeling pressure to deliver results, Trump wants to revive a troubled health care measure from House Republicans to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Venezuelans march in memory of those killed in unrest CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Thousands of Venezuelans dressed in white marched in the capital Saturday to pay homage to the at least 20 people killed in anti-government unrest in recent weeks. Protests have been roiling Venezuela on an almost daily basis since the pro-government Supreme Court stripped congress of its last powers three weeks ago, a decision later reversed amid a storm of international rebuke. But for the first since the protests began, demonstrators managed to cross from the wealthier eastern side of Caracas to the traditionally pro-government west without encountering resistance from state security. Opposition lawmaker Freddy Guevara, relishing the feat, likened the protesters' arrival in the city's more humble neighborhoods as "crossing the Berlin wall." Once assembled outside the headquarters of the Roman Catholic bishops' confederation, religious leaders led the crowd in a moment of silence and asked God for strength.
Global finance leaders grapple with globalization fears WASHINGTON (AP) - Global finance leaders on Saturday dropped a sharp condemnation of trade protectionism and references to climate change from a closing statement that wrapped up the spring meetings of the 189-nation International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This year's meetings were dominated by a debate over how to respond to a rising tide of anti-globalization sentiment evidenced in the United States by the election of President Donald Trump, who pledged during last year's campaign that he would reduce America's huge trade deficits which he blamed for the loss of millions of good-paying factory jobs. In its communique, the IMF urged nations to avoid "inward-looking policies," but it did not include tougher language the IMF had used in an October statement in which it had called on all countries to "resist all forms of protectionism." The new statement also dropped any mention of the threat of climate change.
UC Berkeley students threaten to sue over Ann Coulter visit BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - The University of California at Berkeley students who invited Ann Coulter to speak on campus are threatening to sue the university if it doesn't find a proper time and venue for the conservative pundit to speak next week. Harmeet Dhillon, who represents the Berkeley College Republicans, said in letters sent Friday to UC Berkeley's Interim Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton and chief attorney Christopher Patti that if Coulter is not allowed to give a speech on campus on April 27 she will file a lawsuit in federal court because the university is violating the students' constitutional right to free speech.