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Presidential candidates duel on Iran nuclear deal as House GOP division threatens 'no' vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — Debate on the Iran nuclear deal morphed into full-blown political spectacle Wednesday as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz held a rally to denounce it, Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a speech to praise it and congressional Republicans turned on each other angrily as they grasped for a last-ditch play to stop it.
The maneuvering and speechifying did little to change the reality: Barring unlikely success of an eleventh-hour gambit by the House, the international accord aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions will move ahead. Even if Congress succeeds in passing legislation aimed at undermining it by next week's deadline, President Barack Obama would veto such a measure and minority Democrats command enough votes to sustain him.
But that seemed only to inflame GOP opponents as Congress convened for its first full day back after a five-week summer recess that hardened partisan divisions around the accord. Republicans turned up the rhetoric against the deal at a rally outside the Capitol, while inside, House conservatives searched for a legislative way to undermine it.
Across town, Clinton praised the accord. "Diplomacy is not the pursuit of perfection. It is the balancing of risk," she said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. Either the deal moves forward, she said, or "we turn down a more dangerous path leading to a far less certain and riskier future."
The message was far different at the Capitol rally headlined by GOP presidential candidates Trump and Cruz denouncing the Iran accord, which Republicans contend will not stop the Iranians from developing a nuclear bomb. The gathering featured conservative favorites, including former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, in front of several thousand people who waved flags and banners denouncing Obama. One placard showed a smiling president alongside a billowing mushroom cloud over New York City.
The Latest: Despite discord, protest, Iran deal seems on track as House plans 3 votes
WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest as Congress and the 2016 presidential campaign wrestle with the Iran nuclear deal. All times local (EDT):
5:30 p.m.
The House will be voting on three resolutions related to the Iran nuclear deal this week.
But the resolution of disapproval of the deal that the Senate is debating won't be one of them.
Officials: US to increase number of refugees by 5K next year to help ease migrant crisis
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is prepared to increase the number of refugees it resettles by at least 5,000 next year as European countries struggle to accommodate tens of thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
Two officials and a congressional aide said that Secretary of State John Kerry told members of Congress in a private meeting Wednesday that the United States will boost its worldwide quota for resettling refugees from 70,000 to 75,000 next year, and that number could rise. A fraction of those would be from Syria.
Kerry said after the meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the U.S. would increase the number of refugees it is willing to take in, but he did not give a specific number.
"We are looking hard at the number that we can specifically manage with respect to the crisis in Syria and Europe," he said. "That's being vetted fully right now."
The officials and the congressional aide spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private meeting on the record.
Sharing the burden: Battle over migrant quotas shaping up in 28-nation European Union
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union implored its member countries Wednesday to better share the burden of refugees flooding the continent, but the numbers involved were small compared with the half-million who have already arrived and the hundreds of thousands more on their way.
With Syrians, Eritreans and Afghans often hoping to settle in wealthy nations like Germany and Sweden, the EU is struggling find a more equitable solution that would also send a fair share of refugees to less-desirable and less-welcoming places such as Slovakia and the Baltics.
Hours after EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe had a historic duty to act and relocate 160,000 who have arrived in overwhelmed Hungary, Greece and Italy, a number of Eastern European and Baltic states vowed to reject the imposition of any kind of quotas from Brussels.
The plan is a drop in the ocean for an economic power like the EU, where a half-billion people live, compared with efforts by Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which are hosting more than 4 million refugees, mostly from Syria.
But despite the troubling scenes of drowned children on beaches, or thousands of people running at razor-wire fences or crammed into buses and trains, the 28 nations simply cannot agree on modest proposals, let alone profound ways to tackle Europe's biggest refugee emergency since World War II.
Q&A: The airport relationship that led to the removal of United Airlines' CEO
NEW YORK (AP) — How is the closing of some lanes leading to a bridge in New Jersey related to the CEO of the world's second-largest airline losing his job?
You probably aren't alone in asking that. So here is a quick primer to help you connect the dots.
Allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie allegedly closed an access point to the George Washington Bridge as retribution against a local mayor who wouldn't support the governor's re-election campaign. The bridge is owned and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which also operates the airports in and around New York City.
A federal investigation of the affair known as "Bridgegate" eventually pointed to the Port Authority's chairman, David Samson, a Christie appointee. Questions were raised about Samson's interactions with United Airlines, which is the top airline in the New York City area. United is the dominant airline at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, with 68 percent of all passengers.
With the federal probe underway, United conducted its own investigation. On Tuesday, it announced — without providing any details — that as a result of that investigation, CEO Jeff Smisek and two government relations executives were leaving the airline. Nobody has been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.
Another Christie ally implicated as bridge investigation morphs into United Airlines scandal
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — What began as a mysterious series of traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge exactly two years ago has mushroomed into a high-level corporate scandal that can't be good for Republican Gov. Chris Christie's struggling presidential campaign.
United Airlines CEO Jeffrey Smisek and two other top executives abruptly resigned Tuesday amid a federal investigation into the possible trading of favors between the airline and David Samson, the Christie-appointed former head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the powerful agency that runs area tunnels, bridges and airports.
When Samson was in charge at the Port Authority, United resumed direct flights to the South Carolina airport near his vacation home. Around the same time, United was pressing for concessions from the agency, including a new hangar at the Newark airport, rent reductions and a commuter rail-line extension that would connect the airport directly to lower Manhattan.
No one has been charged in the case. A spokeswoman for Samson on Wednesday said only that Smisek's resignation "is a United Airlines matter." A Port Authority representative had no comment.
The investigation was an offshoot of the so-called Bridgegate case, the scandal that has cast a long shadow over Christie's White House hopes.
Kentucky clerk's marriage ban disrupts town's unspoken agreement to avoid religious debates
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — Kim Tabor hates to answer the phone these days, because so often the caller starts screaming.
Tabor works for the Rowan County Circuit Court Clerk, which keeps track of criminal and civil filings in a town that prides itself on peace and quiet. Marriages are handled across the street, where Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has ignited the passions of religious conservatives around the world by refusing to authorize weddings for anyone since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.
Tabor said people have called from all over, confusing the two offices. They ask for Kim, and when she answers, they don't wait for her explanation before they start screaming.
In this eastern Kentucky town, now center stage in a national conflict, angry words and gestures have too often replaced quiet conversation - or, more often, silence - on a subject deeply personal to both sides. But many who will remain after the television trucks go away hope things will get better.
Most know there's more to their town's story than the high-decibel discussion that's been playing out lately.
Apple shows off new Apple TV, iPhones and plus-sized iPad
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple staked a new claim to the living room on Wednesday, as the maker of iPhones and other hand-held gadgets unveiled an Internet TV system that's designed as a beachhead for the tech giant's broader ambitions to deliver a wide range of information, games, music and video to the home.
CEO Tim Cook and other executives also showed off two new iPhone models, a plus-sized iPad with detachable keyboard and updated software for the Apple Watch during an exhaustive, two-hour event in San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
Apple is counting on sales of the new iPhones to maintain its position as one of the most profitable, and valuable, companies in the world.
But it's the new Apple TV system that some analysts point to as an important step for the company as Cook attempts to build a business that doesn't rely so heavily on the iPhone.
"Apple is laying the groundwork for a broader living-room strategy" said analyst Ben Bajarin from the research firm Creative Strategies. Apple wants to make the already-important TV screen into an essential hub for communication and entertainment, he said.
Truck window shatters on Phoenix freeway as authorities investigate 9 highway shootings
PHOENIX (AP) — A truck's passenger window shattered on a Phoenix freeway Wednesday as Arizona authorities investigated a string of highway shootings that have rattled nerves and heightened fears of a possible serial shooter.
The state Department of Public Safety has not yet confirmed whether the glass was shot out. Nobody was hurt, agency spokesman Bart Graves said.
Authorities were already investigating nine shootings of vehicles over the past two weeks. Four cars were hit last week along the city's main freeway. One bullet shattered a windshield and the broken glass cut a 13-year-old girl. The other rounds hit a headlight and the sides of vehicles.
Then on Tuesday, police announced that they were investigating five more shootings, including one that shattered the window of an off-duty police sergeant's vehicle as he drove to work. On Wednesday, investigators raced to a gas station after the driver of a white truck pulled off Interstate 10 with a shattered window.
Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead called the incidents "domestic terrorism crimes."
New York becomes 1st US city to require salt warnings on chain-restaurant menus
NEW YORK (AP) — Some sub sandwiches, movie theater pretzels and even milkshakes and salads will soon come with a first-of-its-kind salt warning symbol in New York City after officials agreed Wednesday to stake out new ground in a national push for healthier eating habits.
The city Board of Health voted unanimously to require chain eateries to put salt-shaker emblems on menus to denote dishes with more than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium. That's about a teaspoon.
Applauded by public health advocates but slammed as misguided by salt producers and restaurateurs, the plan is a first in the U.S. and furthers a series of novel nutritional efforts in the biggest city.
"This really represents, to me, the next step in allowing usable information for our community to make better health decisions," health board member Dr. Deepthiman K. Gowda said. Members said they hoped the idea would spread to other locales and spur eateries to cut down on salt.
The average American consumes about 3,400 mg of salt each day, most of it from processed and restaurant food, studies show. Overconsumption of sodium raises the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. Related content