The Daily Progress

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AP Top News at 6:15 p.m. EDT

A short-term health deal by senators _ with Trump's blessing
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican and Democratic senators joined in announcing a plan Tuesday aimed at stabilizing America's health insurance markets in the wake of President Donald Trump's order to terminate "Obamacare" subsidies. Trump himself spoke approvingly of the deal, but some conservatives denounced it as an insurance company bailout, making its future uncertain. The agreement followed weeks of negotiations between Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington that sought to address health insurance markets that have been in limbo following GOP failures to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The talks took on added urgency when Trump announced last week that he would end monthly "cost sharing reduction" payments the government makes to help insurance companies reduce costs for lower-income people.


US-backed forces celebrate fall of IS 'capital' of Raqqa
BEIRUT (AP) - U.S.-backed Syrian forces celebrated in the devastated streets of Raqqa on Tuesday after gaining control of the northern city that once was the heart of the Islamic State's self-styled caliphate, dealing a major defeat to the extremist group that has seen its territory shrink ever smaller since summer. Militants took over the vibrant metropolis on the Euphrates River in 2014, transforming it into the epicenter of their brutal rule, where opponents were beheaded and terror plots hatched. It took thousands of bombs dropped by the U.S.-led coalition and more than four months of grueling house-to-house battles for the Syrian Democratic Forces to recapture Raqqa, marking a new chapter in the fight against the group whose once vast territory has been reduced to a handful of towns in Syria and Iraq.


Judge in Hawaii blocks latest version of Trump's travel ban
HONOLULU (AP) - A federal judge in Hawaii blocked most of President Donald Trump's latest travel ban Tuesday, just hours before it was set to take effect, saying the revised order "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor." It was the third set of travel restrictions issued by the president to be thwarted, in whole or in part, by the courts. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson issued the ruling after the ban on a set of mostly Muslim countries was challenged by the state of Hawaii, which warned that the restrictions would separate families and undermine the recruiting of diverse college students.


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Me Too: Alyssa Milano elevates Harvey Weinstein conversation
NEW YORK (AP) - Alyssa Milano was in bed with her two young children when a friend of a friend on Facebook suggested something that struck her as a great way to elevate the Harvey Weinstein conversation. She took the idea to Twitter, posting: ``If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write `me too' as a reply to this tweet.'' That was Sunday night. By Monday night, more than 53,000 people had left comments and thousands of women had declared ``Me Too,'' sharing their stories of rape, sexual assault and harassment across social media, including some for the first time.


Kurds pull out abruptly from disputed Iraqi areas
BAGHDAD (AP) - Kurdish fighters pulled out of disputed areas across northern and eastern Iraq on Tuesday, one day after giving up the vital oil city of Kirkuk - a dramatic redeployment of forces that opened the way for government troops to move into energy-rich and other strategically important territories. The vastly outnumbered Kurdish forces, known as the peshmerga, appeared to have bowed to demands from the central government that they hand over areas outside the Kurds' autonomous region, including territory seized from the Islamic State group in recent years. The evacuations exposed a Kurdish leadership in turmoil in the wake of last month's vote for independence as Iraq's central government shores up its hand for negotiations over resource-sharing with the country's self-ruling minority.


Passenger says Delta crew stopped her from singing anthem
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A Georgia physician said her plan to honor a fallen soldier by singing the U.S. national anthem aboard a Delta Air Lines plane carrying the soldier's casket was stopped by a flight attendant who told her it would violate company policy. Dr. Pamela Gaudry of Savannah said she and fellow passengers were told "to stay quietly in our seats" as an honor guard escorted the casket from the plane Saturday at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. A flight attendant told her that singing "The Star Spangled Banner" would make passengers from other countries uncomfortable, she said. "I couldn't put up with that," Gaudry told The Associated Press in an interview Monday.


Maltese reporter killed by bomb crusaded against corruption
ROME (AP) - Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist killed by a bomb that blew up her car, was fearless and formidable, colleagues and admirers recall. She spared no vested interest, including the dominant political parties, from her investigations of corruption in her native island nation. Her reporting including examinations of leaked documents in the Panama Papers scandal. Caruana Galizia, 53, died Monday as she drove near her home on Malta. Two weeks before, she told police she'd received threats. Journalism colleagues said Tuesday that the veteran reporter's resolve to root out wrongdoing only sharpened after someone put flaming tires outside her house more than a decade ago in an apparent attempt to burn it down.


NTSB: Balloon crash pilot was as impaired as a drunk driver
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The pilot in the deadliest hot air balloon crash in U.S. history was probably impaired by Valium, opioids and cold and allergy medicine when he ignored weather warnings and flew the ride into a power line, investigators said Tuesday. Besides Valium and oxycodone, there was enough of the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl in Alfred "Skip" Nichols' system to mimic "the impairing effect of a blood-alcohol level" of a drunken driver, said Dr. Nicholas Webster, a National Transportation Safety Board medical officer. During a meeting in Washington, NTSB revealed its findings about the July 2016 crash near Austin that killed all 16 people aboard.


Israel says no talks if Hamas in Palestinian government
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel said Tuesday it would not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that includes a role for the militant Hamas group, laying down a significant potential roadblock to already complicated Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said there would be no talks with the Palestinians unless Hamas agrees to a series of conditions it is unlikely to accept, including recognizing Israel and agreeing to disarm. The announcement came as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah government is in talks with Hamas over ending a 10-year split. Under Egyptian auspices, the Palestinian factions last week announced a preliminary agreement and have formed committees to sort out unresolved issues, most notably who will control Hamas' massive weapons arsenal.


Trump to call families of slain soldiers, questions Obama
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday will call the families of four soldiers killed this month in Niger, the White House says, as Trump again casts doubt on whether his predecessor appropriately consoled the families of military personnel who died in war. Trump suggested Tuesday that President Barack Obama did not call John Kelly, a former Marine general who is now White House chief of staff, when his son, Marine 2nd Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. "I think I've called every family of someone who's died," Trump told Fox News radio. "As far as other representatives, I don't know.