AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT


Trump’s campaign reeling after crude comments on women aired

NEW YORK (AP) — Caught on tape making shockingly crude comments about a married woman he tried to seduce, Donald Trump reeled under widespread condemnation from his own party on Friday, increasingly desperate to salvage a presidential bid at risk of imploding.

Trump tried to head off some of the damage by issuing a statement apologizing “if anyone was offended” by vulgar remarks captured on a 2005 tape and made public Friday. In the recording, obtained by The Washington Post and NBC News, Trump describes trying to have sex with the married woman and brags about women letting him kiss and grab them because he is famous.

“When you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

He adds seconds later, “Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything.”

The one-sentence response from the head of Trump’s Republican Party was devastating.

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Trump caught on video making lewd, crude remarks about women

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump blurted out lewd and sexually charged comments about women as he waited to make a cameo appearance on a soap opera in 2005, a revelation that led the Republican presidential nominee to issue a rare apology Friday, “if anyone was offended.”

Trump bragged about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women who were not his wife on recordings obtained by The Washington Post and NBC News. The celebrity businessman boasted “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” in a conversation with Billy Bush, then a host of the television show “Access Hollywood.”

The remarks were captured by a live microphone that Trump did not appear to know was recording their conversation.

In a statement released by his campaign, Trump said: “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

The video’s release comes out just two days before Trump will face Hillary Clinton in their second presidential debate and as he confronts a series of stories about his past comments about women and tries to move beyond remarks shaming a former Miss Universe for gaining weight.

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Private Clinton speeches leaked in hacking blamed on Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton told bankers behind closed doors that she favored “open trade and open borders” and said Wall Street executives were best-positioned to help reform the U.S. financial sector, according to transcripts of her private, paid speeches leaked Friday.

The leaks were the result of another email hacking intended to influence the presidential election.

Excerpts of the speeches given in the years before her 2016 presidential campaign included some blunt and unguarded remarks to her private audiences, which collectively had paid her at least $26.1 million in speaking fees. Clinton had refused to release transcripts of the speeches, despite repeated calls to do so by her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The excerpts were included in emails exchanged among her political staff, including Campaign Chairman John Podesta, whose email account was hacked. The WikiLeaks organization posted what it said were thousands of Podesta’s emails. It wasn’t immediately clear who had hacked Podesta’s emails, though the breach appeared to cover years of messages, some sent as recently as last month.

Among the emails was a compilation of excerpts from Clinton’s paid speeches in 2013 and 2014. It appeared campaign staff had read all Clinton’s speeches and identified passages that could be potentially problematic for the candidate if they were to become public.

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Hurricane threatens some of South’s most storied cities

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Matthew spared Florida’s most heavily populated stretch from a catastrophic blow Friday but threatened some of the South’s most historic and picturesque cities with ruinous flooding and wind damage as it pushed its way up the coastline.

Among the cities in the crosshairs were St. Augustine, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina.

“There are houses that will probably not ever be the same again or not even be there,” St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver lamented as battleship-gray floodwaters coursed through the streets of the 451-year-old city founded by the Spanish.

Matthew — the most powerful hurricane to threaten the Atlantic Seaboard in over a decade — set off alarm as it closed in on the U.S., having left more than 300 people dead in Haiti.

In the end, it sideswiped Florida’s Atlantic coast early Friday, swamping streets, toppling trees onto homes and knocking out power to more than 1 million people. But it stayed just far enough offshore to prevent major damage to cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. And the coast never felt the full force of its 120 mph winds.

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Tolls rises as Haiti digs out from Hurricane Matthew

JEREMIE, Haiti (AP) — People across southwest Haiti were digging through the wreckage of their homes Friday, salvaging what they could of their meager possessions after devastating Hurricane Matthew killed hundreds of people and created a new crisis for the impoverished country.

Aid has begun pouring into the hard-hit town of Jeremie, where thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed and many people were running low on food and facing an increased risk for cholera. Dozens of young Haitians came to the small airstrip along the coast to watch as a helicopter was unloaded with crates of food and water.

“My home is totally wrecked and I heard they were bringing food,” said 22-year Richard David, one of those who came to the airport. “I haven’t had anything but water today and I’m hungry.”

The country’s Civil Protection Agency said the death toll was still at nearly 300, but officials conceded it was likely higher because the central government had not received totals from much of the Grand Anse region because communications were still largely down across the rural and mountainous area.

Saint-Victor Jeune, an official with the Civil Protection agency working in Beaumont, in the mountains on the outskirts of hard-hit Jeremie, said 82 bodies found by his team had not been recorded by authorities in the capital because of spotty communications. Most appeared to have died from falling debris from the winds that tore through the area at 145 mph (235 kph) on Tuesday.

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US accuses Russia of political hacking, war crimes in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. bluntly accused Russia on Friday of hacking American political sites and email accounts in an effort to interfere with the upcoming presidential election.

In a one-two punch, the United States also directly accused Russia of war crimes in Syria.

Moscow dismissed the accusations, which significantly worsen U.S.-Russia relations that already had deteriorated to the lowest point in years. Russian officials called the hacking allegations “some kind of nonsense” and said the war crimes talk was simply an effort to divert attention from America’s own failure to uphold a cease-fire in the bloody war.

The White House declined to say whether the hacking accusation would trigger sanctions against Russia. A senior Obama administration official said the U.S. would respond “at a time and place of our choosing.”

The official said the public wouldn’t necessarily know what actions the U.S. has already taken or will take against Russia involving cyberspace. The official wasn’t authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.

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Russia faces Security Council showdown Saturday over Syria

MOSCOW (AP) — International diplomatic pressure increased on Moscow on Friday to end the joint Russian-Syrian siege of the city of Aleppo, but Moscow’s U.N. ambassador says he will most likely veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that would ground Russian warplanes.

Russia’s parliament meanwhile ratified a treaty with Syria that allows its troops to stay indefinitely in the country, a show of support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The siege by Syrian forces backed by Russian warplanes has inflicted immense suffering on civilians in the city’s rebel-held eastern districts. A cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia collapsed last month and Washington-Moscow ties have deteriorated sharply; Russian lawmakers said ratifying the treaty with Syria on Friday was a necessary step to stand up to the U.S.

The United States and Russia support opposite sides in the more than 5-year-old war — Moscow has been a staunch Assad ally and Washington backs Syrian rebels trying to oust him.

As Aleppo’s misery dragged on, Russia’s United Nations ambassador Vitaly Churkin rejected a French-proposed U.N. Security Council resolution that would call for grounding all aircraft, including Russia’s, over Aleppo.

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Nobel Prize boosts Colombian leader’s pursuit of peace

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — By winning the Nobel Peace Prize, President Juan Manuel Santos got a big boost Friday in his efforts to save an agreement seeking to end Colombia’s half-century conflict.

The prize, announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, puts pressure on both conservative critics and leftist rebels to find a way forward after the shocking defeat of the accord in an Oct. 2 referendum.

Santos dedicated the prize to his fellow Colombians, especially the victims of the bloody conflict, saying it would redouble his commitment to end hostilities that left 220,000 dead and almost 8 million displaced.

“I invite everyone to bring together our strength, our minds and our hearts in this great national endeavor so that we can win the most important prize of all: peace in Colombia,” Santos said alongside his wife in his first public appearance after being notified he had won in a pre-dawn phone call from their son.

Colombians are split on their support for the peace deal.

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Lawyer: Backpage.com CEO will fight sex trafficking charges

HOUSTON (AP) — Handcuffed and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, the chief executive of an internet site authorities accuse of being “a hub for the illegal sex trade” waived extradition to California on Friday, and his attorney vowed to fight the “trumped up” sex trafficking and money laundering charges he faces.

Backpage.com Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer was arrested Thursday and his Dallas headquarters was raided after officials in California accused him of felony pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping. Under California law, felony pimping is defined as making money off prostitutes or soliciting customers for prostitution. Texas’ state attorney general’s office added money-laundering to the list of alleged crimes.

Ferrer, 55, was arrested after arriving in Houston on a flight from Amsterdam. Backpage.com is a Dutch-owned limited liability corporation. Ferrer was expected to be flown to California later Friday.

Ferrer, wearing glasses, said very little during his brief court hearing, acknowledging he was waiving extradition.

“Mr. Ferrer looks forward to vigorously fighting these charges that we believe are trumped up,” Ferrer’s attorney, Philip Hilder, said after Friday’s extradition hearing. Hilder declined to comment on further questions related to the charges.

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Chemical weapon for sale: China’s unregulated narcotic

SHANGHAI (AP) — For a few thousand dollars, Chinese companies offer to export a powerful chemical that has been killing unsuspecting drug users and is so lethal that it presents a potential terrorism threat, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The AP identified 12 Chinese businesses that said they would export the chemical — a synthetic opioid known as carfentanil — to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia for as little as $2,750 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), no questions asked.

Carfentanil burst into view this summer, the latest scourge in an epidemic of opioid abuse that has killed tens of thousands of people in the United States alone. Dealers have been cutting carfentanil and its weaker cousin, fentanyl, into heroin and other illicit drugs to boost profit margins .

Despite the dangers, carfentanil is not a controlled substance in China, where it is manufactured legally and sold openly online. The U.S. government is pressing China to blacklist carfentanil, but Beijing has yet to act, leaving a substance whose lethal qualities have been compared with nerve gas to flow into foreign markets unabated.

“We can supply carfentanil … for sure,” a saleswoman from Jilin Tely Import and Export Co. wrote in broken English in a September email. “And it’s one of our hot sales product.”

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