Monday, August 29
Nephew: Gene Wilder, star of Mel Brooks movies, dies at 83
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gene Wilder, the star of such comedy classics as "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles," has died. He was 83.
Wilder's nephew said Monday that the actor and writer died late Sunday in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications from Alzheimer's disease.
The frizzy-haired actor was a master at playing panicked characters caught up in schemes that only a madman such as Mel Brooks could devise, whether reviving a monster in "Young Frankenstein" or bilking Broadway in "The Producers."
But he also knew how to keep it cool as the boozy sharpshooter in "Blazing Saddles" and as the charming candy man in the children's favorite "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory."
School asks high court to hear transgender bathroom case
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia school board is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on whether a transgender male must be allowed to use the boys' bathroom at his high school.
The Gloucester County School Board formally asked the high court on Monday to overturn an appeals court ruling that said the board's policy barring Gavin Grimm from the boys' restroom violates federal law.
At issue is whether the courts must defer to a U.S. Department of Education rule that says transgender students in public schools must be allowed to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the school board can temporarily block Grimm from using the boys' room until it decides whether to intervene in his case.
Weiner, Abedin to separate after sexting revelation
NEW YORK (AP) — The latest sexting episode may have been the last straw for the wife of former Congressman Anthony Weiner (WEE'-nur).
Human Abedin (HOO'-muh AB'-uh-deen) says she and Weiner are separating. Abedin -- a top aide to Hillary Clinton -- says she and Weiner "remain devoted to doing what is best for our son."
According to the New York Post, the toddler appears in one of the photos it published yesterday -- taken while Weiner is in bed, texting with a woman.
The newspaper says Weiner sent the photos last year -- to a woman it identifies as a "40-something divorcee" who lives "out West" and who supports Donald Trump.
Trump says Clinton aide is right to leave her husband
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump is praising the decision of Hillary Clinton's top aide to separate from husband Anthony Weiner. And he's blasting Clinton in the process by suggesting Weiner could have endangered national security.
Trump says Huma Abedin "is making a very wise decision" and that "she will be far better off without him."
Abedin announced Monday she is leaving the former New York congressman after the New York Post published photos it said showed Weiner "sexting" again.
Trump, in a statement, criticized Clinton's "bad judgment" in allowing Weiner "close proximity to highly classified information." He offered no evidence that Weiner had access to classified material.
Trump said it's possible "that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this."
US will meet target of 10,000 Syrian refugees today
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says the United States on Monday will meet President Barack Obama's goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country during the current fiscal year.
Obama directed a sixfold increase in the number of Syrian refugees provided safe haven into the United States.
After a slow start, the administration was able to hit the goal about a month early and just a few weeks before Obama convenes a summit on refugees during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice says Obama understood the important message that expanding Syrian refugee admissions would send, not just to the Syrian people but to the broader international community. Millions have been forced to flee Syria to escape the country's civil war and persecution.
US asks Turkey to focus on fight against IS
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the United States is trying to "de-conflict" U.S.- backed actions against the Islamic State by Turkey and by the American-backed Syrian Kurdish rebels known as the Syrian Defense Forces.
Carter says some of the SDF fighters are affiliated with the so-called YPG, a Kurdish organization that Turkey considers a terrorist group. Carter says the U.S. works with all SDF fighters "in our common interest to defeat" the Islamic State group.
Carter says the U.S. has persuaded the SDF to stay east of the Euphrates River, where they will not come in contact with Turkish forces on the west side of the Euphrates, and they can both fight the Islamic State from those positions.
2 arrested in Italy for looting quake-hit homes
ROME (AP) — Italian police have arrested two people for allegedly looting quake-damaged homes.
Police say officers riding motorcycles Monday to navigate rubble-strewn streets arrested a Romanian man and woman.
The suspects were driving a car with German plates and were arrested for suspected looting in Preta.
The hamlet is near the hardest-hit town, Amatrice, where least 231 people perished in the Aug. 24 quake and hundreds of homes collapsed or became unsafe to inhabit. In all, 292 people are confirmed dead in several towns in central Italy.
Police say the pair, in their 40s, allegedly stole about 300 euros ($350), clothing and other items from several homes. Some people are sleeping in cars near their homes for fear of looting.
Traffic deaths rose a whopping 7.2 percent in 2015
WASHINGTON (AP) — Government officials say traffic fatalities rose 7.2 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. That's the largest single-year increase in a half century.
The final tally of 35,092 deaths released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is 0.5 percent lower than the 7.7 percent estimated increase released in July. NHTSA said the final numbers are still the largest single-year increase since 1966. Officials attribute the rise to more drivers on the road.
The Obama administration responded to the latest numbers with a "call to action," asking researchers, safety experts, data scientists and others to find new ways to prevent traffic deaths.
The National Safety Council has said that its preliminary estimates for the first six months of 2016 show the trend increasing, with fatalities up 9 percent.
Florida's Gulf Coast warily eyes brewing storm
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Authorities at some locations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida are hauling out sandbags to offer residents amid predictions of heavy rains from a storm system heading to the southeast Gulf of Mexico.
The tropical depression was located at 11 a.m. EDT Monday about 170 miles (275 kilometers) west-southwest of Key West, Florida, and moving west at 7 mph (11 kph) with top sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph).
The National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to eventually turn to the north and then northeast in coming days amid predictions it could drop heavy rains over northern Florida.
St. Petersburg says it began offering free sandbags Monday and will do so again for several hours Tuesday at two locations. Two other local jurisdictions also were making sand bags available.
POLICE SHOT-BATON ROUGE
NEW: VA: Ex-Marine who killed 3 in Baton Rouge did not have PTSD
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Newly released medical records show a former Marine who ambushed and killed three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers last month never saw combat in Iraq, but told doctors he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because a buddy showed him videos of maimed and decapitated bodies.
Documents provided by the Veterans Health Administration to The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act show Gavin Long's doctors diagnosed him in November 2011 as suffering from an "adjustment disorder with depressed mood," but not PTSD.
Long, a black military veteran from Kansas City, Missouri, shot and killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others on July 17 outside a Baton Rouge convenience store. Long had posted rambling internet videos calling for violence in response to police treatment of African-Americans.
Banks lead US stocks higher on rate hopes
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing up on Wall Street Monday, tacking higher after a three-day drop as the financial sector benefited from hopes of higher interest rates.
Wells Fargo, the nation's largest mortgage lender, rose 2.2 percent Monday while JPMorgan Chase rose 1 percent and Bank of America gained 0.3 percent.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech last week that the case for raising rates above their historic lows was strengthening.
Fertilizer company CF Industries gained 4.2 percent after Barron's said it could move higher.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 107 points, or 0.6 percent, to 18,503.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,180. The Nasdaq composite gained 13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,232.
FOX NEWS-SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Fox News calls Tantaros an 'opportunist' in lawsuit response
NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel says Andrea Tantaros is not a "victim" but "an opportunist" in its response to the sexual-harassment lawsuit filed last week by the former Fox News host.
In that response, filed Monday in New York, the network asks that the case go to arbitration in what it says is in accordance with her employment agreement. The network notes that she is already a party to pending arbitration after having been suspended by Fox, which has accused her of breaching her employment agreement by writing a book without prior authorization.
Tantaros last week sued the network, its ousted chairman, and other top executives, claiming they retaliated after she detailed unwanted sexual advances made by her onetime boss, Roger Ailes.
Fox says Tantaros' allegations about sexual harassment are "a smokescreen."
NEW: Report: Clown spotted trying to lure kids into woods
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A neighborhood in South Carolina is reporting that people dressed as clowns have been seen trying to lure children into the woods.
Greenville County deputies say they've found no evidence of anyone behind the apartment complex where residents reported seeing clowns trying to attract children.
Drew Pinciaro of the Greenville County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Monday that officers investigated the woods behind Fleetwood Manor Apartments last week after receiving the reports but found "no signs of suspicious activity or characters dressed in clown attire."
Patrols in the area are being increased.
An incident report from the sheriff's office says that several children reported that clowns tried to lure them into the woods with money.
Media outlets reported the apartment property manager put out a statement to alert parents.