'Yep, I'm Gay': Happy 20th out anniversary, Ellen DeGeneres NEW YORK (AP) - With a headline of "Yep, I'm Gay" on the cover of Time magazine and the same declaration on her sitcom, Ellen DeGeneres made history 20 years ago as the first prime-time lead on network TV to come out, capturing the hearts of supporters gay and straight amid a swirl of hate mail, death threats and, ultimately, dark times on and off the screen. The code-named "The Puppy Episode" of "Ellen" that aired April 30, 1997, was more than just a hit. It was one of those huge cultural "where were you" moments for anybody remotely interested in TV, or the advancement of LGBTQ people working in TV, or who were itching to come out of their closets at home at a still-perilous time.
Tillerson says China asked North Korea to stop nuclear tests WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that China has threatened to impose sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests. "We know that China is in communications with the regime in Pyongyang," Tillerson said on Fox News Channel. "They confirmed to us that they had requested the regime conduct no further nuclear test." Tillerson said China also told the U.S. that it had informed North Korea "that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own." Earlier Thursday, the senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific said the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he's ever seen, but he declined to compare the situation to the Cuban missile crisis decades ago.
Senate Dems block quick vote on short-term spending bill WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats late Thursday blocked a quick vote on a short-term spending bill to keep the government open, roiling Washington with brinkmanship less than 30 hours before a midnight Friday deadline for a shutdown and President Donald Trump's 100th day in office. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pressed for an agreement on the short-term legislation that will carry through next week, giving lawmakers more time to complete negotiations on a $1 trillion government-wide spending bill for the remainder of the 2017 budget year. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer insisted that any vote only occur when Republicans abandon efforts to add provisions on abortion, financial regulations and the environment to the legislation.
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10 Things to Know for Friday Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday: 1. WHO FACES INTENSIFYING INVESTIGATIONS The Pentagon watchdog has joined lawmakers in probing the legality of payments to Donald Trump's ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn, from foreign sources, including a Russian state-sponsored TV network. 2. HOW TRUMP PLANS TO OVERHAUL TAXES The plan could provide significant relief to the working-class voters who elected him, but the unknowns could end up hurting many of the president's core supporters. 3. TRUMP'S BUMPY CEO PRESIDENCY The same skills that helped Trump in the executive suite have hurt him in the Oval Office, management experts say.
Lawmakers attacked as protesters storm Macedonian parliament SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) - Chaos swept into Macedonia's parliament Thursday as demonstrators stormed the building and attacked lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker despite a months-old deadlock in efforts to form a new government. Clashes over several hours injured 77 people, including 22 police officers and several lawmakers, authorities said. Neighboring countries along with the European Union and United States expressed concern at the small Balkan nation's escalating political crisis. Dozens of protesters, some of them masked, broke through a police cordon after the opposition Social Democrats and parties representing Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority voted to name a new parliament speaker.
'I cannot go back': South Sudan refugee clan begins new life IMVEPI, Uganda (AP) - Eighty-year-old Alfred Wani walks across the wooden bridge over the Kaya River, the border between South Sudan and Uganda, clinging to his Bibles and family photo album, with his wife, three goats and 27 relatives in tow. Missing are a few sons (off fighting) and his cattle (stolen). Alfred is one of more than 800,000 South Sudanese who have fled to Uganda since July. The civil war in South Sudan has killed tens of thousands and driven out more than 1.5 million people in the past three years, creating the world's largest refugee crisis. The Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda is now the biggest in the world, but Alfred is not going there.
Pentagon joins intensifying probe of former Trump aide Flynn WASHINGTON (AP) - Investigations intensified into President Donald Trump's ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn, on Thursday as the Pentagon watchdog joined lawmakers in probing payments he accepted from foreign sources including a Russian state-sponsored TV network. At the same time, documents released by the top Democrat on a House oversight committee showed Flynn was warned by authorities after he retired from the military in 2014 not to take foreign government-sourced money without "advance approval" from the Pentagon. Flynn, a former Army lieutenant general and Defense Intelligence Agency chief, later accepted tens of thousands of dollars for his work on behalf of foreign interests, including RT, the state-supported Russian television network, and a Turkish-owned company linked to Turkey's government.
Trump tax plan: Relief for his voters but lots of unknowns WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's plan to overhaul the nation's tax code could provide significant tax cuts for the working-class voters who elected him, but the unknowns could end up hurting many of these core supporters of the president. A look at how Trump's tax plan could affect families at different income levels: --- THE WORKING CLASS These are the people who have been left behind by an increasingly globalized economy. Trump's proposal, a one-page outline short on detail, says he would double the standard tax deduction, which could provide significant relief to working-class families. But Trump's top economic adviser used some bad math to describe the proposal, raising questions.
AP FACT CHECK: Be wary of White House claims about tax plan WASHINGTON (AP) - Getting to the bottom of President Donald Trump's tax plan is difficult because it exists so far as bullet points on a single page, with no detail. Still, there are reasons to be wary about some of the claims coming out of the White House about it. CLAIM: TAX CUT IS BIGGEST EVER Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, in remarks Wednesday, channeled Trump's penchant for exaggeration. "This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country," Mnuchin contended. The headline of the administration's one-page, double-spaced release made the same claim.
Passenger who was dragged off jetliner settles with United CHICAGO (AP) - The passenger who was dragged off a flight after refusing to give up his seat settled with United for an undisclosed sum Thursday in an apparent attempt by the airline to put the fiasco behind it as quickly as possible. David Dao's legal team said the agreement includes a provision that the amount will remain confidential. One his lawyers praised United CEO Oscar Munoz. Munoz "said he was going to do the right thing, and he has," attorney Thomas Demetrio said in a brief statement . "In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened ... without attempting to blame others, including the city of Chicago." The deal came less than three weeks after the episode and before Dao had even sued.