As Senate hearing set for Kavanaugh, new accuser emerges
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing Thursday for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who says he sexually assaulted her as a teenager, as a claim of sexual misconduct emerged from another woman.
The New Yorker magazine reported Sunday night that Senate Democrats were investigating a second woman’s accusation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh dating to the 1983-84 academic year, Kavanaugh’s first at Yale University.
The New Yorker said 53-year-old Deborah Ramirez described the incident in an interview after being contacted by the magazine. Ramirez recalled that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away, the magazine reported.
In a statement provided by the White House, Kavanaugh said the event “did not happen” and that the allegation was “a smear, plain and simple.” A White House spokeswoman added in a second statement that the allegation was “designed to tear down a good man.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called Sunday night for the “immediate postponement” of any further action on Kavanaugh’s nomination. She also asked the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to have the FBI investigate the allegations of both Ford and Ramirez.
Florence the week after: Thousands brace for more flooding
BLADENBORO, N.C. (AP) — Thousands of coastal residents remained on edge Sunday, told they may need to leave their homes because rivers are still rising more than a week after Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas.
About 6,000 to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, were alerted to be prepared to evacuate ahead of a “record event” of up to 10 feet (3 metres) of flooding expected from heavy rains dumped by Florence, county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers said. She said flooding is expected to begin Tuesday near parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers and that people in potential flood zones should plan to leave their homes Monday.
The county’s emergency management director, Sam Hodge, said in a video message posted online that authorities are closely watching river gauges and law enforcement would be going door to door in any threatened areas.
“From boots on the ground to technology that we have, we are trying to be able to get the message out,” Hodge said in the video feed, advising people they shouldn’t await an official order to evacuate should they begin to feel unsafe.
In North Carolina, five river gauges were still at major flood stage and five others were at moderate flood stage, according to National Weather Service. The Cape Fear River was expected to crest and remain at flood stage through the early part of the week, and parts of Interstates 95 and 40 are expected to remain underwater for another week or more.
Tackling climate change to be key talking point at UN summit
BERLIN (AP) — With global temperatures rising, superstorms taking their deadly toll and a year-end deadline to firm up the Paris climate deal, leaders at this year’s U.N. General Assembly are feeling a sense of urgency to keep up the momentum on combating climate change.
That’s why, in between discussing how to tackle wars, poverty and deadly diseases around the world, leaders will be devoting substantial time in New York this week to the question of global warming and how to rein it in.
There’ll be talk of emissions targets and the need to adapt to the inevitable changes already underway when small island states take the floor at the annual gathering. Ministers from major economies, meanwhile, will be meeting behind closed doors to discuss who will pay to help poor countries avoid the worst effects of global warming — and prevent a wave of climate refugees in future.
Outside the confines of the United Nations, campaigners and businesspeople will meet during New York Climate Week, while Wednesday will see the second edition of French President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit.
About the only leader not expected to dwell on climate change is President Donald Trump, who last year announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris accord. He says it represents a bad deal for the American people.
Amid furor, Trump pushes pause on deciding Rosenstein’s fate
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — As Air Force One streaked across the desert sky and Las Vegas faded in the distance, President Donald Trump began seeking opinions.
The TVs on the plane, tuned as always to Fox News, carried headlines about an explosive new story: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had suggested wearing a wire to secretly record Trump, and raised the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.
On the flights both to and from a Missouri rally, Trump polled staff on the plane, called his outside network of advisers and kept a careful eye on what his favourite hosts on his favourite network were recommending.
The messages were mixed, but more were in favour of containing the urge to fire Rosenstein, a move that would declare open warfare with the Justice Department and cast doubt on the future of the special counsel’s Russia probe, according to two people familiar with the exchanges but not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.
Trump, though telling confidants that he felt the moment was another example of the “Deep State” and media conspiring to undermine him, held off dismissing Rosenstein. For now.
At UN, unrepentant Trump set to rattle foes, friends alike
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump is poised to redouble his commitment to “America First” on the most global of stages this week.
In the sequel to his stormy U.N. debut, Trump will stress his dedication to the primacy of U.S. interests while competing with Western allies for an advantage on trade and shining a spotlight on the threat that he says Iran poses to the Middle East and beyond.
One year after Trump stood at the rostrum of the U.N. General Assembly and derided North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” the push to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula is a work in progress, although fears of war have given way to hopes for rapprochement.
Scores of world leaders, even those representing America’s closest friends, remain wary of Trump. In the 12 months since his last visit to the U.N., the president has jolted the global status quo by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, starting trade conflicts with China and the West and embracing Russia’s Vladimir Putin even as the investigation into the U.S. president’s ties to Moscow moves closer to the Oval Office.
Long critical of the United Nations, Trump delivered a warning shot ahead of his arrival by declaring that the world body had “not lived up to” its potential.
Iran fears plot by US and its Gulf allies as pressure grows
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — On the same day Arab separatists killed at least 25 people in an attack targeting a military parade in southwestern Iran, President Donald Trump’s lawyer mounted a stage in New York to declare that the government would be toppled.
“I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them. It could be in a few days, months or a couple of years, but it’s going to happen,” former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Saturday. “They are going to be overthrown. The people of Iran obviously have had enough.”
For Iran’s Shiite theocracy, comments like these only fuel fears that America and its Gulf Arab allies are plotting to tear the Islamic Republic apart.
Those threats so far haven’t led to a military confrontation or violence, but the risk is rising.
“Undoubtedly the Islamic Republic of Iran will not ignore this crime. It is absolutely clear for us who did that, what group they are and with whom they are affiliated,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned before leaving for New York for the United Nations General Assembly. “All of those small mercenary countries that we see in this region are backed by America. It is Americans who instigate them and provide them with necessary means to commit these crimes.”
Michelle Obama drums up voter participation at Nevada rally
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former first lady Michelle Obama held a campaign-style rally in Las Vegas on Sunday to urge Nevadans to register to vote and cast ballots this fall, warning them that sitting out means someone else will make decisions for them.
“We get the leaders we vote for. We get the policies we vote for. And when we don’t vote, that’s when we wind up with government of, by and for other people,” Obama told about 2,000 people inside a high school gymnasium.
The event was the first of two rallies the former first lady is scheduled to headline for the nonpartisan, non-profit organization she co-chairs, When We All Vote.
She has long been one of the most popular draws among Democrats. But she has kept a low profile since leaving the White House in January 2017. Obama has limited her political commitments for now to helping When We All Vote, which says it encourages participation regardless of political affiliation.
It’s unclear whether she will stump for Democratic candidates this year, but former President Barack Obama has made appearances in California and Ohio to support Democrats. He has also endorsed more than 80 Democrats up and down the ballot in more than a dozen states.
Actor James Woods bashes Twitter after getting locked out
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Actor James Woods has been locked out of his Twitter account over a tweet he sent out months ago that was found to be in violation of Twitter’s rules.
The tweet was posted July 20 and includes a hoax meme that said it came from Democrats and encouraged men not to vote in the midterm elections. Woods got an email from Twitter on Thursday saying the tweet “has the potential to be misleading in a way that could impact an election.” The email says Woods can use his account again if he deletes the tweet.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Woods said this means he’ll be allowed back on Twitter only if he decides to do what Twitter says. He says he won’t do that, and he won’t delete the tweet.
“Free speech is free speech — it’s not Jack Dorsey’s version of free speech,” Woods said, referring to Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey.
Twitter said it doesn’t comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. A spokesman for the social media platform said by email that he had nothing more to share when asked if Dorsey would respond directly to Wood’s comments.
Mystery around disappearance of Chinese star Fan Bingbing
BEIJING (AP) — X-Men star Fan Bingbing’s Beijing management office is dark and abandoned. Her birthday passed almost unremarked in China’s hyper-adrenalized social media environment.
For one of China’s best known stars and a rising Hollywood actress, Fan’s vanishing is stunning, coming amid vague allegations of tax fraud and possibly other infractions that could have put her at odds with Chinese authorities.
Fan has starred in dozens of movies and TV series in China and is best known internationally for her role as Blink in 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” a cameo in the Chinese version of “Iron Man 3,” and star turns on the red carpet at Cannes as recently as May. She was booked to star with Penelope Cruz in the Hollywood film “355” and has a role in the upcoming Bruce Willis-Adrien Brody feature “Air Strike.”
Yet for nearly three months, Fan hasn’t been seen or heard from in public in any verifiable way.
One of China’s wealthiest entertainers, Fan pulled down tens of millions of dollars for her roles, along with handsome sums in appearance fees and product endorsements. Some of those contracts may have landed her in hot water with the authorities.
Tiger Woods caps off amazing comeback with a win
ATLANTA (AP) — Tiger Woods, in his Sunday red shirt, both arms raised in victory on the 18th green.
For so many years, the scene was familiar.
This time, it was surreal.
“I can’t believe I pulled this off,” Woods said Sunday during the trophy presentation at the Tour Championship, where he gave thousands of delirious fans at East Lake, and millions more around the world, what they wanted to see, and what they thought they might never see again.
And at that moment, Woods was overcome with emotion and paused.