Search on for 7 Navy crew after ship damaged in collision
YOKOSUKA, Japan — A U.S. destroyer was back in its home port after colliding before dawn Saturday with a container ship four times its size, leaving seven sailors missing.
The USS Fitzgerald, flanked by two tug boats and other support vessels, was listing to its right as it slowly approached the port at the Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo.
Crew members from the destroyer USS Dewey had helped stabilize the damaged destroyer after it collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan, leaving at least three sailors injured, in addition to the seven missing.
Family members were frantically seeking news, appealing via social media for calls from sailors aboard from the ship as it slowly made its way to its home base.
Rescuers were searching for seven sailors who were thought to have been thrown into the sea or possibly trapped inside damaged sections of the destroyer, said Japanese coast guard spokesman Yoshihito Nakamura. No one on the container ship was reported injured.
Trump publicly acknowledges Russia probe includes him
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time Friday that he is under federal investigation as part of the expanding probe into Russia’s election meddling. He lashed out at a top Justice Department official overseeing the inquiry, reflecting his mounting frustration with the unrelenting controversy that has consumed his early presidency.
“I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt,” the president wrote on Twitter.
His morning missive apparently referred to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general whose role leading the federal investigation has become increasingly complicated. The White House has used a memo he wrote to justify Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, but that Trump action may now be part of the probe. Thursday night, Rosenstein issued an unusual statement complaining about leaks in the case.
Trump advisers and confidants describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit — and potentially end — his presidency. Some of his ire is aimed at Rosenstein and investigative special counsel Robert Mueller, both of whom the president believes are biased against him, associates say.
Dianne Feinstein, top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she was “increasingly concerned” that Trump will fire both Mueller and Rosenstein.
Republicans divided as Trump reverses some Obama Cuba policy
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s decision to reverse some Obama-era Cuba policies landed with a thud among many congressional Republicans who say the new approach surrenders a potentially lucrative market for American goods and services to competitors.
While anti-Castro conservatives hailed Trump’s partial roll-back of President Barack Obama’s detente, a number of other GOP lawmakers, particularly from farm states, criticized the change as misguided and isolationist. They urged him to ease barriers with Havana that will boost trade and create jobs in both countries.
Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., said Trump’s shift is more than just a missed opportunity for rural America, which would benefit from greater access to Cuba’s agricultural import market. He said Trump’s policy may put U.S. national security at risk as strategic competitors move to fill the vacuum the uncoupling could create.
“Further U.S. disengagement opens up opportunities for countries like Iran, Russia, North Korea and China to gain influence on an island 90 miles off our coast,” Crawford said.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a frequent critic of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, said in a statement that any policy change “that diminishes the ability of Americans to travel freely to Cuba is not in the best interests of the United States or the Cuban people.”
From regal to rustic, Trump heads to Camp David for weekend
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is picking simple over swanky this weekend.
Nearly five months into his presidency, Trump is heading to Camp David, the government-owned retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains, for the first time. A frequent weekend traveler, Trump has favored his palatial residences in Florida and New Jersey over the wooded hideaway used by many presidents for a break from Washington.
No one expects the luxury-loving leader to make this a regular thing. After all, Trump told foreign newspapers earlier this year that Camp David was “very rustic” and “you know how long you’d like it? For about 30 minutes.”
Presidents have been coming to the refuge about 70 miles from the White House for seven decades, and not always just for a rest. Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill there in 1943, reviewing plans for the invasion of Normandy. Jimmy Carter used it for peace talks between Egypt and Israel. George H.W. Bush’s daughter Dorothy, or “Doro,” got married there.
“Everything that a president needs in the White House is built in there,” says Anita McBride, who was first lady Laura Bush’s chief of staff. “You have military support. You have a place to house your staff if you chose to use it. It is immediately available. … Within 20 minutes you can be there.”
Grim search at London blaze site continues as anger mounts
LONDON — Public fury over the London high-rise fire is mounting as exhausted London firefighters continue their grim search Saturday for victims of the inferno that killed at least 30 people.
Residents and neighbors are demanding answers for how the blaze spread so quickly amid reports that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of exterior paneling in a renovation of Grenfell Tower that ended in May 2016.
Around 70 people are missing, according to Britain’s Press Association, and identification of the victims is proving very difficult. British health authorities say that 19 patients, 10 of whom remain in critical condition, are still being treated at four London hospitals.
Queen Elizabeth II marked her official birthday Saturday by saying Britain remains “resolute in the face of adversity” after the horrendous fire and recent extremist attacks in London and Manchester.
The 91-year-old monarch said it is “difficult to escape a very somber mood” on what is normally a day of celebration. She and Prince William visited fire survivors Friday.
Scalise doctor hopes for ‘excellent recovery’ despite risk
WASHINGTON — Congressman Steve Scalise can hope to make an “excellent recovery,” his trauma surgeon said Friday, even though the lawmaker arrived at the hospital Wednesday at imminent risk of death after getting shot at a congressional baseball practice.
In his first public comments since the shooting, Dr. Jack Sava of MedStar Washington Hospital Center said it’s a “good possibility” that the Louisiana Republican will be able to return to work in his full capacity.
Sava declined to put a timeline on when that would happen or when Scalise, 51, would be able to leave the hospital. The doctor described how a bullet from an assault rifle entered Scalise’s hip and traversed his pelvis, shattering blood vessels, bones and internal organs along the way.
For now, Scalise remains in critical condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Scalise, the No. 3 House Republican, arrived at the hospital via helicopter in shock, with intense internal bleeding and “an imminent risk of death,” Sava said.
Protesters of Castile shooting largely cleared from freeway
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota police officer was cleared Friday in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black motorist whose death captured national attention when his girlfriend streamed the grim aftermath on Facebook.
Castile’s family stormed out of the courtroom after the verdict was read, and the city of St. Anthony swiftly announced plans to dismiss Officer Jeronimo Yanez, despite his acquittal. Yanez was charged with manslaughter in the death of Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, during a July 6 traffic stop that turned deadly seconds after Castile alerted the officer that he was carrying a gun. Castile had a permit for the weapon.
“The fact in this matter is that my son was murdered, and I’ll continue to say murdered, because where in this planet (can you) tell the truth, and you be honest, and you still be murdered by the police of Minnesota,” his mother, Valerie Castile, said, referring to the fact that her son was shot after he volunteered to Yanez, “Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.”
“He didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” Philando Castile’s sister, Allysza, said, through tears. “I will never have faith in the system.”
Thousands of people gathered Friday evening at the nearby state Capitol to protest the verdict, and began a march that organizers said was headed for the St. Paul Cathedral. The mixed-race crowd, including many people with children, carried signs that read “Unite for Philando” and “Corrupt systems only corrupt.”
Fate of program to protect young immigrants still undecided
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Friday it still has not decided the fate of a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation, despite a statement a day earlier that the program will continue.
The mixed signals reflect the political sensitivities behind the Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. As a candidate who put tough immigration policies at the core of his campaign, Donald Trump denounced the program as an “illegal amnesty” and said he would immediately end it.
Since taking office, Trump has expressed empathy for the participants often called “dreamers,” many of whom have no memory of living anywhere but the United States. Cancelling the program could mean trying to deport more than 787,000 people who identified themselves to the government in exchange for temporary protection.
The Homeland Security Department said Thursday that the program would “remain in effect.”
That statement was included at the end of an announcement of the cancellation of a related Obama program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, which would have protected the immigrant parents of U.S. citizens. A court had blocked the DAPA program and it has never been implemented.
Canoe returning to Hawaii after epic round-the-world voyage
HONOLULU — No modern navigation instrumentation guided a Polynesian voyaging canoe as it followed the horizon during a three-year journey around the globe.
About a dozen crewmembers for each leg of the voyage relied only on their understanding of nature’s cues — ocean swells, stars, wind, birds— and their own naau, or gut, to sail across about 40,000 nautical miles (74,000 kilometers) to 19 countries, spreading a message of malama honua: Caring for the earth.
On Saturday, thousands are expected to welcome double-hulled canoe Hokulea home to Hawaii when it enters a channel off the island Oahu and ties up to a floating dock with iconic Diamond Head in the distance.
“Watching Hokulea crest the waves of Oahu’s south shore as she returns home, much like the canoes of our ancestors, will be a once in a lifetime experience,” said Nainoa Thompson, navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society who oversaw the expedition and mission.
The voyage is perpetuating the traditional wayfinding that brought the first Polynesians several thousand miles to Hawaii hundreds of years ago. The trip also helped train a new generation of young navigators.
Coroner: Sleep apnea among causes of Carrie Fisher’s death
LOS ANGELES — Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea and a combination of other factors, but investigators were not able to pinpoint an exact cause, coroner’s officials said Friday.
Among the factors that contributed to Fisher’s death was buildup of fatty tissue in the walls of her arteries, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said in a news release late Friday. The release states that the “Star Wars” actress showed signs of having taken multiple drugs, but investigators could not determine whether they contributed to her death in December.
Her manner of death would be listed as undetermined, the agency said.
The agency did not immediately respond to a request for additional details about whether a full autopsy report and toxicology results were available.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing pauses during sleep. The pauses may be brief or last several minutes, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.
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