Warning of ‘war’ on farmers, Trump seeks support in Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Donald Trump warned Saturday of a “war on the American farmer,” telling a crowd in Iowa that rival Hillary Clinton “wants to shut down family farms” and implement anti-agriculture policies.
Trump’s speech at the annual “Roast and Ride” fundraiser for Republican Sen. Joni Ernst came just hours after Clinton received her first national security briefing as the Democratic presidential nominee.
Trump skipped the 42-mile motorcycle ride that preceded the event in a state where polls show a tight contest, a rare bright spot for Trump amid a sea of challenging battleground states. Joining him on stage were top Iowa Republicans — among them Ernst, Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Steve King — in a rare show of support for a candidate who has struggled to unite his party.
In a hat tip to Iowa’s agriculture industry, Trump renewed his commitment to continuing a requirement that all gasoline sold contain an ethanol-based additive, an issue important to corn growers. He also promised to cut taxes on family farms, which he called the “backbone” of the country.
“Hillary Clinton wants to shut down family farms just like she wants to shut down the mines and the steelworkers,” he said in front of a wall of straw bales at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. “She will do this not only through radical regulation, but also by raising taxes on family farms – and all businesses – to rates as high as nearly 50 percent.”
Nevada becomes one of Trump’s big hopes for swing state win
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Russ Wheeler bears the financial scars of Nevada’s lost decade, and he hopes Donald Trump can heal them.
He worked for a Las Vegas roofing company when the real estate bust crushed the state’s economy. He took two pay cuts before getting laid off. He had to commute into the California desert to find work after that.
Wheeler considers himself one of the lucky ones. He was able to build up enough savings to retire, but even now his wife had her teaching hours reduced at a community college, dramatically reducing their household’s income.
“It’ll be better with Trump because he’ll bring the jobs back,” Wheeler, 66, said as he stopped by a Republican Party office to scoop up some “Make America Great Again” yard signs and bumper stickers. “Everybody I know is a Trump supporter. He resonates well in Nevada.”
Nevada is the most diverse battleground state. On paper, it should be secure for Democrats. But there are enough people like Wheeler, still rattled by the recession and frustrated about other things, to make it one of Trump’s best swing states.
Kurdish-led Syria forces face off with Turkish-backed rebels
BEIRUT (AP) — Backed by Turkish tanks and reports of airstrikes, Turkey-allied Syrian rebels clashed with Kurdish-led forces in northeastern Syria in a new escalation that further complicates the already protracted Syrian conflict.
Turkey’s military didn’t specify what the airstrikes hit, saying only that “terror groups” were targeted south of the village of Jarablus, where the clashes later ensued. A Kurdish-affiliated group said their forces were the target and called the attack an “unprecedented and dangerous escalation.” If confirmed, it would be the first Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish allied forces on Syrian soil.
Late Saturday night, Turkey’s official news agency reported that one Turkish solider had been killed and three wounded by what it said was a Kurdish rocket attack in Jarablus, near where the fighting has raged. It is the first reported Turkish fatality in Syria.
The new escalation highlights concerns that Turkey’s incursion into Syria this week could lead to an all-out confrontation between Ankara and Syrian Kurds, both American allies, and hinder the war against the Islamic State group by diverting resources.
Sherwan Darwish, a spokesman for Kurdish-led forces in the village of Manbij, said on Twitter Saturday night: “While our forces fighting #IS Some #Turkey backed militias r attacking our positions & hampering our & Intl Coalition’s fight against terror.”
Sheriff: Man confesses in killings of 2 Mississippi nuns
DURANT, Miss. (AP) — A man suspected in the slayings of two nuns found dead in their Mississippi home confessed to the killings, a sheriff said Saturday, in the latest twist to a crime that has horrified people in the small communities where the women served.
Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was arrested and charged in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said late Friday. Both women were 68.
Willie March, the sheriff of Holmes County where the killings occurred, said Saturday he had been briefed by police from the town where the killings occurred and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation officials who took part in Sanders’ interrogation.
Sanders confessed in the interrogation to the killings and gave no reason for the crimes, March said.
The sheriff said police work and tips from the community led police to Sanders, and the investigation is ongoing.
The embrace of life: A story of 2 sisters in Italy’s quake
ASCOLI PICENO, Italy (AP) — In the chaos of Italy’s devastating earthquake, an older sister’s embrace allowed a young girl to survive.
The heartbreaking story of 9-year-old Giulia Rinaldo and her younger sister Giorgia was recounted Saturday by the bishop who celebrated a funeral Mass for 35 of the 290 people killed by the quake that ravaged central Italy before dawn Wednesday.
Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole recalled that around 6 or 6:30 p.m. Wednesday — 15 hours after the quake struck — he returned to a church in his diocese in the town of Pescara Del Tronto to recover its crucifix.
At the time, only meters (yards) from the church, firefighters were using their hands to dig out the two sisters, he said.
“The older one, Giulia, was sprawled over the smaller one, Giorgia. Giulia, dead, Giorgia, alive. They were in an embrace,” D’Ercole said.
Scams & waste loom as charity millions donated after Orlando
The more than 430 fundraisers posted on the GoFundMe website after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando have exposed weaknesses inherent in these popular do-it-yourself charity campaigns: waste, questionable intentions and little oversight.
The fundraisers — an average of more than four for each of the 49 killed and 53 wounded — include travelers asking for cash, a practitioner of ancient healing, a personal safety instructor who sells quick loaders for assault rifles, and even convicted identity impostors.
“There was a deluge,” said Holly Salmons, president of the Better Business Bureau for Central Florida. “It was almost impossible for us or anyone else to be able to vet.”
The crowdfunding sites operate outside traditional charitable circles and often beyond the reach of government regulation. Appeals can be created in minutes by almost anyone and shared around the world.
The officially sanctioned Equality Florida campaign raised more than $7 million via GoFundMe, but another $1.3 million went to smaller appeals — mostly set up by people with little or no charity experience.
Max Ritvo, poet who chronicled cancer battle, dies at 25
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Max Ritvo, a poet who chronicled his long battle with cancer in works that were both humorous and searing, has died. He was 25.
Ritvo died Tuesday morning at his home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, his mother, Ariella Ritvo-Slifka, said Friday.
Ritvo was diagnosed at 16 with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer that affects bones and soft tissue in children and young adults.
Treatment brought about a remission that permitted Ritvo to finish high school and attend Yale University, where he performed in an improv comedy group. His teachers included Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck.
Ritvo’s cancer returned in his senior year, but he completed Yale and this year earned a master’s degree from Columbia University.
Colombian rebels announce final conference of peace talks
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Top commanders from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia are preparing to gather one final time in mid-September to ratify a peace accord reached this week with government negotiators and map out the group’s political strategy without weapons.
“The historic importance of this event merits that the people of Colombia and the world see firsthand the development and conclusions of what will be the last conference of our armed organization,” the FARC said in a statement Saturday inviting media to cover the 10th conference.
The summit will take place Sept. 13-19 in jungled surroundings of San Vicente del Caguan, an area where the rebels have long been dominant and which was the center of a Switzerland-sized demilitarized zone ceded to the FARC during a previous attempt at peace more than a decade ago.
Some 200 delegates are expected to attend, including 29 members of the FARC’s central command, a top decision-making body. Several foreign dignitaries it didn’t name are also invited.
The 297-page peace accord reached this week in Cuba seeks to bring an end to Latin America’s oldest guerrilla war, which has caused more than 220,000 deaths and driven 5 million people from their homes over five decades. As part of the deal, FARC members must turn over their weapons within six months after the deal is formally signed and instead seek to persuade skeptical Colombians that it’s ready to play by the rules of democracy.
In wake of cousin’s fatal shooting, Dwyane Wade speaks out
CHICAGO (AP) — NBA star Dwyane Wade’s cousin was an innocent bystander, police said, pushing her baby in a stroller near a Chicago school where she intended to register her children when she was fatally shot Friday.
Nykea Aldridge’s famous relative, who grew up in Chicago’s south suburbs, tweeted to his nearly 6 million followers about her death, saying Friday it was an “act of senseless gun violence” and posting Saturday morning that Chicago needs “more help& more hands on deck.” Wade ended both days of tweets with the hashtag “EnoughIsEnough.”
The 32-year-old mother of four recently relocated to an area on the city’s South Side, her family said. She was near the school, which is about a mile and a half southwest of the University of Chicago, when two males walked up and fired shots at a third man but hit Aldridge in the head and arm. She wasn’t the intended target, police said.
Police said Saturday afternoon that two “people of interest” were being questioned by detectives but no one has been charged in the shooting. Authorities are investigating whether the encounter between the men was a robbery, possibly involving a driver from a ridesharing company, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Chicago has been plagued by gun violence for years, especially in a few South and West Side neighborhoods. This July alone, there were 65 homicides — the most that month since 2006.
You talkin’ to me? English no longer a must for NYC cabbies
NEW YORK (AP) — People who hope to drive New York City’s famous yellow cabs must pass tests on such details as driving rules and where they can pick up passengers. But one test they no longer have to take? Whether they have a grasp of English.
A new law that streamlines licensing requirements for different kind of drivers has done away with the longstanding English proficiency test for taxi drivers, which supporters say will eliminate a barrier to the profession for immigrants, who make up 96 percent of the 144,000 cabbies in the city.
It’s also a recognition of how technology has transformed the business. Many drivers now rely on computer navigation programs, rather than verbal directions, to reach a destination. For-hire drivers for app-based services such as Uber, for example, never had to take an English test.
But critics, including some drivers, are giving a side-eye to the idea that a good command of English is no longer considered a basic requirement for a job that involves communicating with passengers and reading street signs.
“If you’re going to work in this country serving the population which is majority made up of American citizens that speak English, you probably should learn how to speak English,” said Tanya Crespo, who was visiting Manhattan from Newport, North Carolina.