Democrats, GOP exchange charges of blame for shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) - Feuding Democrats and Republicans in Congress are trying to dodge blame for a paralyzing standoff over immigration and showing few signs of progress on negotiations needed to end a government shutdown. The finger-pointing Saturday played out in rare weekend proceedings in both the House and Senate, where lawmakers were eager to show voters they were actively working for a solution - or at least actively making their case why the other party was at fault. The scene highlighted the political stakes for both parties in an election-year shutdown whose consequences were far from clear. "The American people cannot begin to understand why the Senate Democratic leader thinks the entire government should be shut down until he gets his way on illegal immigration," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hours after a last-chance Senate vote failed.
Mulvaney finds himself in middle of another shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) - Mick Mulvaney stormed Washington as a tea party lawmaker elected in 2010, and he hasn't mellowed much as director of the Office of Management of Budget at the White House. In both spots, he's been at the center of government shutdowns. As a congressman in 2013, Mulvaney was among a faction on the hard right that bullied GOP leaders into a shutdown confrontation by insisting on lacing a must-pass spending bill with provisions designed to cripple President Barack Obama's signature health care law. Then, the fast-talking South Carolina Republican downplayed the impact of a government shutdown, noting that critical government services would continue and Social Security benefits would be paid.
Shutdown divides services into essential and non-essential WASHINGTON (AP) - Symbols of American promise have turned into emblems of American dysfunction amid a dispute in Congress over spending and immigration that has forced scores of federal agencies and outposts to close their doors. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island have turned away visitors in New York, due to what the National Park Service described as "a lapse in appropriations," a bureaucratic term for a lack of money. In Philadelphia, crowds of tourists have been told that Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed, and the Liberty Bell are closed. The shuttered icons were some of the easiest-to-spot impacts of the partial government closure.
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Global female empowerment marches enter second day ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Demonstrations in support of female empowerment are scheduled in cities across the country Sunday, a day after hundreds of thousands of people across the globe marched, chanted and protested. Marches are scheduled in several cities, including Miami, Melbourne and Munich. On Saturday, many not only supported women's rights, but also denounced President Donald Trump's views on immigration, abortion, LGBT rights and women's rights on the anniversary of his inauguration. The 2017 rally in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of similar marches, created solidarity for those opposing Trump's views, words and actions. Millions of people around the world marched during last year's rallies.
Taliban attack on Afghan hotel ends after 13 hours, 6 dead KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A Taliban assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan's capital killed at least six people, including a foreigner, and pinned security forces down for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed on Sunday, with the casualty toll expected to rise. The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the six killed included a foreigner and a telecommunications official from the western Farah province who was attending a conference. Six other people, including three security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.
Turkish troops attack Kurdish enclave in northern Syria HASSA, Turkey (AP) - Turkish troops and Syrian opposition forces attacked a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria on Sunday in their bid to drive a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia from the region. Turkish officials said the troops entered Afrin a day after dozens of Turkish jets and artillery units at the border pounded Syrian Kurdish targets. A spokesman for the Kurdish fighters said the attack was repelled. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, a terror organization and a security threat because of its affiliation to Kurdish rebels fighting in southeastern Turkey. The group controls Afrin, in Syria's northwestern Aleppo province, as well as a swath of territory to the east along Turkey's border.
Jordan urges Pence to 'rebuild trust' after Jerusalem pivot AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Jordan's king appealed Sunday to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to "rebuild trust and confidence" in the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, following fallout from the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Pence, in turn, tried to reassure the monarch that the Trump administration remains committed to restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and views Jordan as a central player. The vice president also said that "the United States of America remains committed, if the parties agree, to a two state solution." Such a caveat deviates from long-standing U.S. support for a two-state solution as the only possible outcome of any peace deal.
Trump the dealmaker comes up short ahead of shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) - He wrote a book on the art of negotiation and was elected to office claiming he alone could end Washington gridlock, but President Donald Trump's latest attempt to broker a big, bipartisan deal has turned into a big mess. The failure to find consensus on immigration and spending is a blow to Trump's presidency on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration - and perhaps more painfully, a blow to his brand as a wheeler-and-dealer. The funding feud, which led to a government shutdown at midnight Friday, is the second time Trump has dived into a negotiation and come up short on a top priority.
Head of popular girl band leads N. Korean team to S. Korea SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The head of a hugely popular North Korean girl band crossed the heavily fortified border into South Korea on Sunday to check preparations for rare performances by an art troupe she also leads during next month's Winter Olympics. Appearing live on South Korean television, Hyon Song Wol didn't speak when she walked past a crowd of reporters, onlookers and a barrage of camera flashes before boarding an express train at Seoul's railway station for the eastern city of Gangneung, where her art troupe is to perform during the Pyeongchang Olympics. She is the leader of Pyongyang's all-female Moranbong Band, which was hand-picked by leader Kim Jong Un.
'The Shape of Water' wins top Producers Guild Award BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Women and inclusivity continued to dominate the awards season conversation Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards, where Guillermo del Toro's fantastical romance "The Shape of Water" won the top award and honorees like Jordan Peele and Ava DuVernay gave rousing speeches to the room of entertainment industry leaders. The untelevised dinner and ceremony, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., is closely watched for its capacity to predict the eventual Oscar best picture winner, but this year the "awards race" seemed to be the secondary show to the more urgent questions facing the industry, including the crisis of representation and sexual misconduct.