Obama cancels meeting with new Philippine President Duterte
VIENTIANE, Laos (AP) — President Barack Obama called off a planned meeting Tuesday with new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, seeking distance from a U.S. ally’s leader during a diplomatic tour that’s put Obama in close quarters with a cast of contentious world figures.
It’s unusual for one president to tell another what to say or not say, and much rarer to call the other a “son of a bitch.” Duterte managed to do both just before flying to Laos for a regional summit, warning Obama not to challenge him over extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
“Clearly, he’s a colorful guy,” Obama said. “What I’ve instructed my team to do is talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this in fact a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations.”
Early Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the meeting with Duterte was off.
Duterte has been under intense global scrutiny over the more than 2,000 suspected drug dealers and users killed since he took office. Obama had said he planned to raise the issue in his first meeting with Duterte, but the Philippine leader insisted he was only listening to his own country’s people.
Far-right activist, author Phyllis Schlafly dies at 92
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Phyllis Schlafly, the outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group, has died. She was 92.
Schlafly’s family was with her when she died Monday afternoon of cancer at her home in St. Louis, her son John Schlafly said. Funeral arrangements are pending, he said.
Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book, “A Choice Not an Echo,” that became a manifesto for the far right. The book, which sold three million copies, chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention and is credited for helping conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona earn the 1964 GOP nomination.
She later helped lead efforts to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment that would have outlawed gender discrimination, galvanizing the party’s right. She’d graduated from college while working overnight at a factory during World War II, her newspaper column appeared in dozens of newspapers and she was politically active into her 90s — including attending every convention since her first in 1952. She attended this year’s convention as a Donald Trump delegate.
Yet she told The Associated Press in 2007 that perhaps her greatest legacy was the Eagle Forum, which she founded in 1972 in suburban St. Louis, where she lived. The ultraconservative group has chapters in several states and claims 80,000 members.
Clinton blasts Russia, Trump softens immigration stance
CLEVELAND (AP) — Setting the stage on Labor Day for a critical month in their testy presidential campaign, Donald Trump softened his stance on immigration while Hillary Clinton blasted Russia for its suspected tampering in the U.S. electoral process.
In a rare news conference aboard her new campaign plane, Clinton said she is concerned about “credible reports about Russian government interference in our elections.”
“We are going to have to take those threats and attacks seriously,” Clinton told reporters traveling with her from Ohio to Illinois.
Clinton’s comments follow reports that the Russian government may have been involved in the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails just days before the party’s national convention. The emails, later revealed by WikiLeaks, showed some DNC officials favoring Clinton over her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders — who has since endorsed Clinton for president.
She said Russian President Vladimir Putin appears “quite satisfied with himself” and said Trump “has generally parroted what is a Putin-Kremlin line.”
Seoul says North Korea fires 3 medium-range missiles
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Monday fired three medium-range missiles that traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and landed near Japan in an apparent show of force timed to coincide with the Group of 20 economic summit in China, South Korean officials said.
North Korea has staged a series of recent missile tests with increasing range, part of a program that aims to eventually build long-range nuclear missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
Such tests are fairly common when international attention is turned to Northeast Asia, and this one came as world leaders gathered in eastern China for the G-20 summit of advanced and emerging economies. China is North Korea’s only major ally, but ties between the neighbors have frayed amid a string of North Korean nuclear and missile tests and what many outsiders see as other provocations in recent years.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the three ballistic missiles, all believed to be Rodongs, were launched from the western North Korean town of Hwangju and flew across the country before splashing into the sea.
A Joint Chiefs of Staff statement described the launches as an “armed protest” meant to demonstrate North Korea’s military capability on the occasion of the G-20 summit and days before the North Korean government’s 68th anniversary.
Poll: Support for Black Lives Matter grows among white youth
WASHINGTON (AP) — Support for the Black Lives Matter movement has increased among young white adults, according to a poll that suggests a majority of white, black, Asian and Hispanic young adults now support the movement calling for accountability for police in the deaths of African-Americans.
Fifty-one percent of white adults between the ages of 18 and 30 say in a GenForward poll they now strongly or somewhat support Black Lives Matter, a 10-point increase since June, while 42 percent said they do not support the movement.
But most young whites also think the movement’s rhetoric encourages violence against the police, while the vast majority of young blacks say it does not. And young whites are more likely to consider violence against police a serious problem than say the same about the killings of African-Americans by police.
Black, Hispanic and Asian youth already had expressed strong majority support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the June poll. Eighty-five percent of African-American young adults now say they support the protesters. Sixty-seven percent of Asian and 62 percent of Hispanic young adults agreed with that sentiment.
The GenForward survey of adults age 18 to 30 is conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The first-of-its-kind poll pays special attention to the voices of young adults of color, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of a new generation.
Hermine lingers offshore, brings rough waves, rip currents
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Hermine twisted hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, creating large waves in some southern New England beach waters that lured in surfers despite the rough surf and rip currents that kept most beachgoers away on the last day of the holiday weekend.
“These are more seasoned surfers who live for the thrill of these waves,” said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.
Hermine’s position Monday southeast of Nantucket created 20-foot waves and wind gusts of up to 50 kph about 55 miles southeast of the island, Buttrick said. Hermine was expected to stall over the water before weakening again.
Even as Hermine weakens, wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph were expected across southern Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts on Monday, Buttrick said.
Governors along the Eastern Seaboard announced emergency preparations. A tropical storm warning was in effect from New York’s Long Island to Massachusetts. New York officials extended beach closures beyond Labor Day because of continued deadly rip currents.
Mexico’s Baja battens down as Hurricane Newton approaches
CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Newton soaked Mexico’s western Pacific coast with heavy rain Monday and took aim at Baja California’s twin resorts of Los Cabos, where residents nailed plywood over windows and pulled in fishing boats while preparing for a possible direct hit two years after being slammed by a major storm.
Newton’s maximum sustained winds increased to 85 mph (140 kph) by early evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The Category 1 storm was centered about 160 miles (260 kilometers) southeast of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo and was moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph) on a forecast path that would bring it near or over the area Tuesday morning.
Officials opened 18 shelters at schools in the two resorts and 38 more in other parts of Southern Baja California state, while warning people against panic buying.
“There is no need for mass buying,” Los Cabos Mayor Arturo de la Rosa Escalante said. “There is enough food and fuel for the next 20 days.”
Los Cabos police were stationed at shopping malls to guard against the kind of looting that occurred after Hurricane Odile struck the area in 2014 as a Category 3 storm, with 125 mph (205 kph) winds.
Obama makes trade deal top priority in remaining months
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite formidable opposition across the political spectrum, President Barack Obama is using his final months in office to fight for congressional approval of a 12-nation free trade pact called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Obama plugged the trade agreement Monday in China, saying it is “indisputable that it would create a better deal for us than the status quo.” He said he doesn’t have to sell the deal to Asian leaders who were part of the negotiations because “they see this as the right thing to do for their own countries.”
At home, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump bash the agreement and public opinion polls show voters closely divided on its merits.
A survey by the Pew Research Center estimated that 39 percent of registered voters view TPP as a bad thing for the United States and 37 percent consider it a good thing, hardly the kind of numbers that would inspire Congress to heed the president’s call.
Where things stand on the agreement and Obama’s effort:
Twin bombings near Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry kill 24
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Twin bombings near the Afghan Defense Ministry killed at least 24 people on Monday, including two security force generals, in an attack claimed by the Taliban.
Public Health Ministry spokesman Ismail Kawasi said another 91 people were wounded in the attack in central Kabul. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said a district police chief and five other police officers were among those killed.
Deputy Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the second bombing was caused by a suicide attacker who struck the area of the first blast after security forces gathered there. He said the attack took place as ministry employees were leaving their offices for the day. Senior police investigator Faredoon Obiadi said the suicide attacker was wearing a military uniform.
A district police chief and an army general were among those killed in the attack, three officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. Dozens of ambulances raced to the scene after the blasts, and security forces blocked off roads leading to the area.
Ashuqullah, 34, who like many Afghans has no surname, described the scene of chaos he witnessed.
Wave of IS-claimed bombings in Syria kill at least 48
BEIRUT (AP) — Near-simultaneous bombings claimed by the Islamic State group struck in and around strongholds of the Syrian government and Kurdish troops Monday, killing at least 48 people in a wave of attacks that came a day after the militants lost a vital link to the outside world along the Syrian-Turkish border.
The IS-run Aamaq news agency said the attacks included six suicide bombings and one remotely detonated blast. Most targeted security forces.
The Britain-based Observatory, which maintains a network of contacts in Syria, put the overall death toll at 53, although Syrian state TV said 48 were killed. Conflicting casualty figures are common in the 5-year-old Syria civil war.
Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria expert with the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, said it was too soon to say if the attacks by the IS group were a reaction to its recent defeats along the border.
But she cautioned that setbacks for IS can lead to “a dangerous new phase” by the group, which sometimes resorts to “infiltration and spectacular attacks that exploit and widen rifts” between populations, groups and security forces in both western and northern Syria,