Trump suspends arms treaty, citing Chinese, Russian threats
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is pulling the plug on a decades-old nuclear arms treaty with Russia, lifting what it sees as unreasonable constraints on competing with a resurgent Russia and a more assertive China. The move announced Friday sets the stage for delicate talks with U.S. allies over potential new American missile deployments.
In explaining his decision, which he had foreshadowed months ago, President Donald Trump accused Moscow of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with "impunity" by deploying banned missiles. Moscow denies it is in violation and has accused Washington of resisting its efforts to resolve the dispute.
Democrats in Congress and some arms control advocates criticized Trump's decision as opening the door to an arms race.
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"The U.S. threat to terminate the treaty will not bring Russia back into compliance and could unleash a dangerous and costly new missile competition between the United States and Russia in Europe and beyond," the private Arms Control Association said. It argued that Washington had not exhausted options for drawing Russia back into compliance.
Trump said in a statement that the U.S. will "move forward" with developing its own military response options to Russia's banned deployment of cruise missiles that could target western Europe.
ICE force-feeding detainees on hunger strike
Three times a day, a 22-year-old Indian man on a hunger strike says, he is dragged from his cell in a Texas immigration detention center, his feet scraping the floor as he goes. He's put on a bed where he says his arms and legs are strapped down and a group of people force-feed him by pouring liquid into tubes pushed through his nose.
The man is among a group of nine detainees in the El Paso facility who immigration officials acknowledged Friday are being hydrated and fed against their will under court orders. That's up from six men who were being fed through nasal tubes Wednesday when The Associated Press first reported on the force-feeding.
"They tie us on the force-feeding bed, and then they put a lot of liquid into the tubes, and the pressure is immense so we end up vomiting it out," said the man, who called the AP Friday from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility where he is being held. "We can't talk properly, and we can't breathe properly. The pipe is not an easy process, but they try to push it down our noses and throats."
Speaking through an interpreter, the hunger striker interviewed by the AP said he has lost 50 pounds since he began refusing food more than a month ago after coming to the United States seeking asylum. AP is only using his last name, Singh, out of family concerns for his safety in the U.S. and India. He said he is refusing food to protest guards' unfair treatment of him and other Punjabis, who he said are being denied bond while other detainees from other countries were allowed out.
In a statement, ICE said it fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference.
Virginia governor apologizes for racist photo; not resigning
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam apologized on Friday for a racist photo in which he appeared more than 30 years ago, but said he did not intend to heed calls to resign from both Republicans and prominent fellow Democrats, including several presidential hopefuls.
The yearbook images were first published Friday by the conservative news outlet Big League Politics. The Virginian-Pilot later obtained a copy from Eastern Virginia Medical School, which Northam attended. The photo shows two people looking at the camera — one in blackface wearing a hat, bow tie and plaid pants; the other in a full Ku Klux Klan robe.
An Associated Press reporter saw the yearbook page and confirmed its authenticity at the medical school.
In his first apology, issued in a written statement Friday night, Northam called the costume he wore "clearly racist and offensive," but he didn't say which one he had worn.
He later issued a video statement saying he was "deeply sorry" but still committed to serving the "remainder of my term."
Human toll of cold: more than 2 dozen dead, hundreds hurt
CHICAGO (AP) — The dangerous cold and heavy snow that hobbled the northern U.S. this week has retreated, but not before exacting a human toll: more than two dozen weather-related deaths in eight states and hundreds of injuries, including frostbite, broken bones, heart attacks and carbon monoxide poisoning.
In Illinois alone, hospitals reported more than 220 cases of frostbite and hypothermia since Tuesday, when the polar vortex moved in and overnight temperatures plunged to minus 30 (minus 34 Celsius) or lower — with wind chills of minus 50 (minus 45 Celsius) or worse in some areas.
Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis normally sees around 30 frostbite patients in an entire winter. It admitted 18 in the past week, spokeswoman Christine Hill said Friday.
"I definitely saw more frostbite than I've ever seen in my entire career just in the last three days," said Dr. Andrea Rowland-Fischer, an emergency department physician at Hennepin Healthcare.
Most of those patients, she said, had underlying problems that made it difficult for them to take care of themselves: the developmentally delayed, the mentally ill, the very young and the very old. They also included people with injuries related to drugs and alcohol — people who passed out or did not realize they were cold or injured.
Trump's State of the Union to focus on 'choosing greatness'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump heads into his State of the Union address dogged by bruising midterm losses and sinking poll numbers, wounded by a blistering standoff with Democrats. But for the stately speech, he plans to embrace unity — at least for the night.
"Choosing Greatness" is the official White House theme.
Addressing the nation at the weakest point of his presidency, Trump will seek to use the ceremonial moment to pitch a unifying vision and reset relations with Democrats. The prime-time presidential set-piece Tuesday night comes amid a bitter border wall fight that nearly derailed the speech altogether, but Trump is not expected to dwell on the rancor.
"I really think it's going to be a speech that's going to cover a lot of territory, but part of it's going to be unity," Trump told reporters this week.
While Trump may strive for a unifying tone for the evening, harsh rhetoric has been a constant of his presidency. Previous efforts by Trump to shift gears have been short-lived and have struck many as disingenuous, given the ferocity with which he often takes on Democrats. Even on Friday, Trump was going after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by name, calling her clueless and her ideas dangerous.
Struggle for control of Venezuela returning to the streets
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Momentum is growing for Venezuela's opposition movement led by lawmaker Juan Guaido, who has called supporters back into the streets for nationwide protests Saturday, escalating pressure on embattled President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
A defiant Maduro's socialist government has called on its own loyalists to flood the streets waving flags to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Bolivarian revolution launched by the late Hugo Chavez.
The dueling demonstrations will play out amid a political standoff in its second week of heightened tensions — and with the potential to spark violent clashes between the opposition and security forces.
Guaido has turned down offers from the presidents of Mexico and Uruguay to negotiate with Maduro. In a letter Guaido urged both presidents to back Venezuela's struggle, saying to remain neutral aligns them with Maduro.
"At this historical moment that our country is going through, to be neutral is to be on the side of the regime that has condemned hundreds of thousands of human beings to misery, hunger and exile — including death," he said.
AP FACT CHECK: Taxpayers have already spent money on Foxconn
Confusion has swirled around electronic manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group's plans for a $10 billion campus in southeast Wisconsin that promised to bring 13,000 jobs — most of them blue-collar factory positions— to build high-tech display screens.
Wisconsin lawmakers offered up to $2.85 billion worth of incentives in 2017 to lure the world's largest electronics manufacturer to the state, sparking criticism that the state was giving away too much money.
But Foxconn's plans were thrown into doubt Wednesday when a company official said that the Taiwanese company was backing away from making LCD panels in favor of becoming a "technology hub" employing mostly research, development and design jobs. The company again shifted course Friday, saying it would return to earlier plans to make the LCD panels after a conversation between Foxconn's chairman and President Donald Trump.
Foxconn's contradictory statements triggered a flurry of finger-pointing among Wisconsin politicians this week.
In a joint statement, Wisconsin's Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald defended the Foxconn incentive package they helped create.
Northwest measles outbreak revives debate over vaccine laws
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A measles outbreak near Portland, Oregon, has revived a bitter debate over so-called "philosophical" exemptions to childhood vaccinations as public health officials across the Pacific Northwest scramble to limit the fallout.
At least 44 people in Washington and Oregon have fallen ill in recent weeks with the extraordinarily contagious virus, which was eradicated in the U.S. in 2000 as a result of immunization but arrives periodically with overseas travelers. More than a half-dozen more cases are suspected, and people who were exposed to the disease traveled to Hawaii and Bend, Oregon, raising the possibility of more diagnoses in the unvaccinated.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee last week declared a state of emergency because of the outbreak.
"I would hope that this ends soon, but this could go on for weeks, if not months," said Dr. Alan Melnick, public health director in Clark County, Washington, just north of Portland. The county has had most of the diagnosed cases so far. "
Of the confirmed cases, 37 are people who were not immunized. Most of the confirmed cases have been children under 10. Authorities said Friday one case was a person who had received one dose of the measles vaccine.
Patriots have habit of Super Bowl trips, Rams are newcomers
ATLANTA (AP) — Hey, have you guys been here before?
If you're a New England Patriot, the answer pretty much is "all the time."
If you play for the Rams, the reply basically is "never in my life."
So if experience is a factor in Sunday's Super Bowl, the overwhelming edge is with the 2½-point favorites from Foxborough who are 5-3 in NFL title games with Tom Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick in the hoodie on the sideline.
The Rams, whose past two Super trips were representing St. Louis in 2000 and '02, have four players who have gotten this far. New England has four on its defensive line alone.
Perfect attendance: 3 fans to keep Super Bowl streak alive
ATLANTA (AP) — Don Crisman knows precisely when the streak began: Jan. 15, 1967. The ticket price for the Super Bowl at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was $12.
"Good seats," Crisman, 82, said. "You could buy $6 tickets, and $10. There were three prices."
On Sunday, Crisman, Gregory Eaton and Tom Henschel will attend Super Bowl 53 . They're the last surviving members of the Never Miss a Super Bowl Club, the only known fans with a perfect attendance record for the NFL's biggest game.
"I've missed weddings, I've missed funerals, but I've never missed a Super Bowl," said Eaton, 79, from Lansing, Michigan. "Anyone in my family knows don't plan anything because I'm gone that week."
Ticket prices have soared through the years. Eaton said he paid $2,000 for his ticket to Sunday's Rams-Patriots game. The most he paid was $3,000 for Super Bowl 48 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in 2014.