Bitterly divided Congress fails to stave off government shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) - The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunction. Last-minute negotiations crumbled as Senate Democrats blocked a four-week stopgap extension in a late-night vote, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century. Behind the scenes, however, leading Republicans and Democrats were already moving toward a next step, trying to work out a compromise to avert a lengthy shutdown. Since the shutdown began at the start of a weekend, many of the immediate effects will be muted for most Americans.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is accusing President Donald Trump of reneging on a deal he thought they had neared on immigration and spending Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is accusing President Donald Trump of reneging on a deal he thought they had neared on immigration and spending. The New York Democrat said on the Senate floor that after a White House meeting Friday with Trump, he thought "in my heart" that senators could complete an agreement by evening. He says he "reluctantly" offered concessions on Trump's long-sought border wall with Mexico in exchange for strong protections for young immigrants. Schumer says Trump didn't try selling the accord to congressional Republican leaders, who wouldn't accept it. Schumer says Trump "backed off at the first sign of pressure." Schumer says of Trump: "It's almost as if you were rooting for a shutdown.
A day after Pope Francis grabbed headlines by marrying two flight attendants while flying 36,000 feet over Chile, the conservative Catholic commentariat questioned the legitimacy of the impromptu sacrament LIMA, Peru (AP) - The honeymoon, as it were, is apparently over. A day after Pope Francis grabbed headlines by pronouncing two flight attendants man and wife while flying 36,000 feet over Chile, the conservative Catholic commentariat on Friday questioned the legitimacy of the impromptu sacrament and warned it could cheapen the church's marriage preparation down the line. "Do you know what's a 'marriage' ripe for annulment?" tweeted the traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli. "One celebrated apparently on a whim in an airplane whose celebrant cannot even be sure if parties are validly baptized." For those who missed the news, Francis on Thursday presided over what the Vatican said was the doctrinally and canonically legitimate wedding of Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi, two flight attendants from LATAM flight 1250 that brought the pope, his delegation and travelling press from Santiago to the northern city of Iquique.
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California Gov. Jerry Brown has again denied parole for Leslie Van Houten, the youngest follower of the late murderous cult leader Charles Manson LOS ANGELES (AP) - The governor of California once again denied parole Friday for Leslie Van Houten, the youngest follower of murderous cult leader Charles Manson who blamed herself at her parole hearing for letting him control her life. Gov. Jerry Brown said in his decision that Van Houten still lays too much of the blame on Manson, who died two months ago at 83. Brown acknowledged that Van Houten's youth at the time of the crime, her more than four decades as a model prisoner and her abuse at the hands of Manson make it worth considering her release. "However," he wrote in his decision "these factors are outweighed by negative factors that demonstrate she remains unsuitable for parole." The 68-year-old Van Houten is serving life for the murders of wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, when Van Houten was 19.
AP Explains: Congress has shut down the govt. Now what? WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. government shutdown began at midnight Friday as Democrats and Republicans failed to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending. Here's a look at what the parties are fighting over and what it means to shut down the government. --- WHAT ARE LAWMAKERS FIGHTING ABOUT? Since the end of the fiscal year in September, the government has been operating on temporary funding measures. The current one expired at midnight. Republicans and Democrats have not been able to agree on spending levels for the rest of the year, so another short-term measure is the most likely solution. The House has passed a four-week bill Thursday that also extends funding for a children's health insurance program.
Vice President Mike Pence has departed for the Middle East as scheduled Friday night as U.S. lawmakers seek to avert a federal government shutdown WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Mike Pence is making his fourth visit to Israel, returning to a region he's visited "a million times" in his heart. An evangelical Christian with strong ties to the Holy Land, Pence this time comes packing two key policy decisions in his bags that have long been top priorities for him: designating Jerusalem as Israel's capital and curtailing aid for Palestinians. Pence departed as scheduled Friday evening as U.S. lawmakers sought to avert a federal government shutdown at midnight. Alyssa Farah, a Pence spokeswoman, said the trip was "integral to America's national security and diplomatic objectives" and would go on as scheduled.
Nasty US flu season gets worse, has 'lot more steam' than expected NEW YORK (AP) - The flu season in the U.S. is getting worse. Health officials last week said flu was blanketing the country but they thought there was a good chance the season was already peaking. But the newest numbers out Friday show it grew even more intense. "This is a season that has a lot more steam than we thought," said Dr. Dan Jernigan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One measure of the season is how many doctor or hospital visits are because of a high fever, cough and other flu symptoms. Thirty-two states reported high patient traffic last week, up from 26 the previous week.
Analysis: Emboldened Democrats take page from the hard right WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional Democrats are taking a page from the playbook of President Donald Trump and hard-line conservatives: Fight for your base and don't blink. In forcing a showdown over immigration - and triggering a government shutdown - Democrats have embraced a confrontational, rule-breaking strategy they once blasted as irresponsible when practiced by the other party. But the Trump-era appears to come with new rules for both sides. Rather than playing it safe in an election year, Democrats are calculating the bigger risk would be missing the moment to challenge a deeply unpopular president and deflating the energy that could drive liberal voters to the polls in November.
Autopsy: Tom Petty's death last year was due to an accidental drug overdose NEW YORK (AP) - Tom Petty died last year because of an accidental drug overdose that his family said occurred on the same day he found out his hip was broken after performing dozens of shows with a less serious injury. His wife and daughter released the results of Petty's autopsy via a statement Friday on his Facebook page, moments before coroner's officials in Los Angeles released their findings and the rocker's full autopsy report. Dana and Adria Petty say they got the results from the coroner's office earlier in the day that the overdose was due to a variety of medications.