Colombia’s leader to push ahead on peace after shock defeat
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombians rejected a peace deal with leftist rebels by a razor-thin margin in a national referendum Sunday, scuttling years of painstaking negotiations and delivering a strunning setback to President Juan Manuel Santos, who vowed to keep a cease-fire in place and forge ahead with his efforts to end a half-century of war.
Final results showed that 50.2 percent opposed the accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia while 49.8 percent favored it — a difference of less than 54,000 votes out of a total of 13 million. Pre-election polls had predicted the “yes” vote would win by an almost two-to-one margin.
“I won’t give up. I’ll continue search for peace until the last moment of my mandate,” Santos said in a televised address appealing for calm and in which he tried to reassure voters he was in control of the situation.
To save the accord, Santos ordered his negotiators to return to Cuba on Monday to consult with FARC leaders who watched the results come in from the communist island. He also promised to listen to opponents in a bid to strengthen the deal, which he said is Colombia’s best chance for ending a conflict that has killed 220,000 people and driven almost 8 million people from their homes.
“I’ve always believed in a wise Chinese proverb to look for opportunities in any situation. And here we have an opportunity that’s opening up, with the new political reality that has demonstrated itself in the referendum,” he said before descending to the steps of the presidential palace to address a small group of supporters, some of them crying and waving white flags symbolizing peace.
Trump tax revelation punctuates week of political challenges
NEW YORK (AP) — Ever defiant, Donald Trump and his Republican allies embraced a report on Sunday that said the New York businessman may not have paid federal income taxes for nearly two decades after he and his companies lost nearly $916 million in a single year.
The unexpected revelation punctuated a week of missteps and aggressive personal attacks from the Republican presidential contender, with early voting already underway in some states and Election Day quickly approaching.
If there was a bright spot to the explosive story about his taxes in The New York Times, Trump supporters said, it was that it may shift the national conversation away from Trump’s weeklong feud with a former beauty queen he called “Miss Piggy” as he shamed her for gaining weight, and his unfounded suggestion Hillary Clinton may have cheated on her husband.
“He’s not been on message,” said Barry Bennett, a former Trump adviser. “A week was wasted where he could have been talking about the heroin epidemic and jobs and ISIS. All the money in the world can’t get that time back.”
The mounting challenges injected a new sense of urgency into Trump’s White House bid with the next presidential debate a week away.
10 Things to Know for Monday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:
1. MAJOR SHOCK FOR WAR-TORN COLOMBIA
Voters in a national referendum reject a peace deal with leftist rebels by a razor-thin margin.
2. WHO’S STAYING THE COURSE AMID CHALLENGES
Trump and his GOP allies meet with defiance a new report that suggests the New York businessman may not have paid federal income taxes for nearly two decades.
Clinton could put away Trump by carrying North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republican Donald Trump can do little to stop Democrat Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency if she carries North Carolina, where their close race reflects the national liabilities of both candidates.
Trump is struggling with conservative Democrats, especially women in the big and booming suburbs of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, who’ve long been part of the GOP’s winning formula in North Carolina.
Clinton has her own worries: Younger voters who helped Barack Obama win the state in 2008 and come close in 2012 are far more hesitant to back her.
In a scenario playing out across the most contested states, Clinton’s pursuit of new supporters is aided by a huge, data-driven ground force in North Carolina, while Trump is sticking with his come-what-may plan.
“Both candidates have problems here,” said Paul Shumaker, an adviser to U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who is seeking re-election. “But I think the Clinton people are more attuned about fixing their problems than Trump’s are.”
Dangerous Hurricane Matthew threatens Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — An extremely dangerous Hurricane Matthew moved slowly over the Caribbean on Sunday, following a track that authorities warned could trigger devastating floods in parts of Haiti.
The powerful Category 4 hurricane had winds of 145 mph (230 kph) on Sunday evening. Its center was expected to pass to the east of Jamaica and then cross over or be very close to the southwestern tip of Haiti late Monday before reaching Cuba on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
A hurricane warning was in effect for Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti. Rain was already falling on Jamaica, but forecasters said the southern Haitian countryside around Jeremie and Les Cayes could see the worst of the rains and punishing winds.
“Wherever that center passes close to would see the worst winds and that’s what’s projected to happen for the western tip of Haiti,” said John Cangilosi, a hurricane specialist at the U.S. center. “There is a big concern for rains there and also a big concern for storm surge.”
Matthew is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history and briefly reached the top classification, Category 5, becoming the strongest hurricane in the region since Felix in 2007. The hurricane center said the storm appeared to be on track to pass east of Florida through the Bahamas, but it was too soon to predict with certainty whether it would reach the U.S. coast.
Pope draws line between trans ministry and ‘indoctrination’
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis says Jesus would never turn away transgender faithful and that priests today should accompany them spiritually, even if they undergo sex change operations, sin and repent.
“These people must be accompanied as Jesus accompanied them,” he said.
Francis drew a firm distinction between the need for priests to minister to transgender Catholics and what he called the “nasty” tendency of schools to “indoctrinate” children with the idea that their gender is something that can be picked and chosen and changed.
“It’s one thing if a person has this tendency and also changes sex. It’s another thing to teach this in school to change mentalities. This is what I call ‘ideological colonization,'” Francis said.
As he has on previous foreign trips, Francis lashed out at the so-called “gender theory” during a visit this weekend to the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Francis has denounced for example how donors, including in his native Argentina, have conditioned their assistance to schools to using certain textbooks that espouse gender theory.
52 confirmed dead in stampede at Ethiopia religious event
BISHOFTU, Ethiopia (AP) — Dozens of people were crushed to death Sunday in a stampede after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse an anti-government protest that grew out of a massive religious festival, witnesses said. The Oromia regional government confirmed the death toll at 52.
“I almost died in that place today,” said one shaken protester who gave his name only as Elias. Mud-covered and shoeless, he said he had been dragged out of a deep ditch that many people fell into as they tried to flee.
The first to fall in had suffocated, he said.
“Many people have managed to get out alive, but I’m sure many more others were down there,” he said. “It is really shocking.”
The stampede occurred in one of the East African country’s most politically sensitive regions, Oromia, which has seen months of sometimes deadly demonstrations demanding wider freedoms.
Britain will launch Brexit by April , prime minister says
LONDON (AP) — Britain will begin the formal process of leaving the European Union by the end of March, Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday, seeking to ease concern about the nation’s future and the threat of reduced foreign investment and the weakening of the economy.
Members of the ruling Conservative Party applauded wildly as May said the British people had made it clear that they wanted a clear date for exiting the EU and that she was going to deliver. European leaders and company executives have pushed the government to say when it plans to trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty, starting talks on the U.K.’s departure, so they can begin preparing for a post-EU Britain.
“We will invoke it when we are ready, and we will be ready soon,” she said. “We will invoke Article 50 no later than the end of March next year.”
While the prime minister had previously hinted that she planned to initiate Britain’s exit early next year, many observers had speculated she would wait until the conclusion of France’s presidential election in May or perhaps even the German elections in late summer or fall of next year.
But basking in the glow of party acolytes, a beaming May sounded as if she had campaigned for Britain to leave the EU all along — even though she had opposed that outcome before the June 23 referendum. In what sounded like a stump speech for “leave,” she hit on the emotive issues of sovereignty, immigration and world status.
DIVIDED AMERICA: Gender equality in 2016? It’s complicated
For weeks after the vote, the abuse kept coming: Venomous, sexist phone calls and emails, venting rage at the five women on Seattle’s City Council who outvoted four men to derail a sports arena project.
“Disgraceful hag” was one of the milder messages. “Go home and climb in the oven,” one councilor was told.
This unfolded not in 1966, during an era when American women mobilized en masse to demand equality, but 50 years later in May of 2016 — two months before the first woman was nominated to lead a major party’s presidential ticket.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is part of Divided America, AP’s ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.
Task completed as Americans win back Ryder Cup
CHASKA, Minn. (AP) — Patrick Reed shook his fists with fury for every big putt he made. Phil Mickelson leaped higher than when he won his first Masters. Ryan Moore delivered the final point in this American masterpiece Sunday at the Ryder Cup.
The 17-11 victory over Europe was their biggest rout in 35 years at the Ryder Cup.
Only this was more than just three days of exquisite golf at Hazeltine. This victory began two years ago in Scotland, when Phil Mickelson publicly criticized U.S. captain Tom Watson and a process that he felt put the Americans in position to fail far too often.
“When put in the right environment, the U.S. team brought out some amazing golf,” Mickelson said. “And we’re bringing back the Ryder Cup because of it.”
Sure enough, that 17-inch gold trophy was gleaming on a table, right next to a couple of champagne bottles on ice.