Donald Trump

Around the World: April 18, 2016

Here's what's happening across the United States and around the world today.  

Pentagon misled lawmakers on military sexual assault cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon misled Congress with inaccurate and vague information about sexual assault cases that portrayed civilian law enforcement officials as less willing than military commanders to punish sex offenders, an Associated Press investigation found.

Local district attorneys and police forces failed to act against U.S. service members who were subsequently prosecuted in military courts for sex crimes, according to internal government records that summarized the outcomes of dozens of cases. But in a number of cases, the steps taken by civilian authorities were described incorrectly or omitted. Other case descriptions were too imprecise to be verified.

There also is nothing in the records that supports the primary reason the Pentagon told Congress about the cases in the first place: To show top military brass as hard-nosed crime fighters who insisted on taking the cases to trial.

The records were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders, which provided the documents exclusively to AP. Protect Our Defenders is scheduled to release a report Monday that criticizes the Pentagon's use of the cases to undermine support for Senate legislation that would mandate a major change in the way the military handles sexual assault allegations.

The bulk of the cases involved soldiers. Army spokeswoman Tatjana Christian said the case descriptions were written by service attorneys who had "personal and direct knowledge of the circumstances." She said they contacted the local authorities in each case to ensure the description was accurate, although there is no indication of that in the summaries. The Army declined to make a service official available for an interview.

Fights loom after Brazil's lower chamber OKs impeachment

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — For the second time in under a quarter century, Brazil's Chamber of Deputies voted to open impeachment proceedings against a democratically elected leader, dealing a devastating blow to President Dilma Rousseff, whose left-leaning Workers' Party came to power 13 year ago on the promise of improving the lot of the poor.

The 367-137 vote late Sunday in favor of impeachment was well over the 342 votes needed for the proceedings to move ahead to the Senate, where a majority vote will determine whether Rousseff is put on trial and suspended while Vice President Michel Temer temporarily takes over. The exact date of the Senate vote is not known, but it's widely expected by the middle of next month.

The vote in the lower house sparked elation among many Brazilians, who hold Rousseff responsible for everything from the devastating recession to chronic high taxes and poor public services. At the same time, a broad swath of the population was deeply upset by the results, which many decried as anti-democratic and worrisome.

"I'm happy because I think Dilma had to go, but I'm also both sad that it came to this and also really worried that the next president could be even worse," said Patricia Santos, a 52-year-old small business owner who was among an estimated nearly 60,000 pro- and anti-impeachment demonstrators who outside Congress. "I quiver to think what awaits us next."

While Rouseeff herself didn't react to the results, her party's leader in the lower house, Jose Guimaraes, acknowledged the battle had been lost but insisted the war was just beginning.

In quake-devastated Ecuador, loss piles up amid the rubble

PORTOVIEJO, Ecuador (AP) — It was supposed to be a family reunion to celebrate a young relative's start of college. But the gathering ended in tragedy when a collapsing building crushed 17-year-old Sayira Quinde, her mother, father and toddler brother in their rusting Chevy Blazer.

A grief stricken aunt, Johana Estupinan, now is making the longest journey of her life in a funeral hearse to the town of Esmeraldas, where she will bury her loved ones and break the news of the loss to her sister's three now orphaned children.

As Ecuador digs out from its strongest earthquake in decades, tales of devastating loss are everywhere amid the rubble. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake left a trail of ruin along Ecuador's normally placid Pacific Ocean coast, buckling highways, knocking down an air traffic control tower and flattening homes and buildings. At least 272 people died, including two Canadians, and thousands are homeless.

President Rafael Correa said early Monday that the death toll would "surely rise, and in a considerable way."

"The Ecuadorean spirit knows how to move forward, and will know how to overcome these very difficult moments," Correa said.

US forces deliver aid to Japanese quake-hit areas; 42 dead

MINAMIASO, Japan (AP) — U.S. airlifts were delivering water, bread, ready-to-eat food and other emergency supplies Monday to a remote area of southern Japan stricken by two powerful earthquakes, as local rescuers searched for 10 people still reported missing.

Authorities said at least 42 people died and more than 1,000 were injured in the quakes on Thursday and early Saturday.

The flights by two MV-22 Ospreys were a gesture of cooperation between the two allies and a chance for the U.S. military to demonstrate the utility of the tilt-rotor aircraft, whose deployment has raised controversy in Japan due to safety concerns.

Minamiaso, a town of 12,000 on the southern island of Kyushu, was partly cut off by landslides and road and bridge damage. Residents there marked their location with chairs aligned in a giant "SOS" while awaiting the U.S. relief flights, which also delivered tents and portable toilets and waste treatment kits.

Yachiyo Fuchigami, 64, was among those keeping a wary eye on puffs of smoke rising from nearby 1,592-meter (5,223-foot) Mount Aso, Japan's largest active volcano.

Carter arrives in Iraq for talks on how to beef up IS fight

BAGHDAD (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Baghdad Monday to talk to Iraqi leaders about beefing up Iraqi forces working to retake the northern city of Mosul, a critical goal in the effort to defeat the Islamic State group.

A senior U.S. official said that as the U.S. moves to help the Iraqis, it will also likely mean that at least a "small number" of additional American forces will go to the warzone.

Carter has said the U.S. is considering a number of options, including more airstrikes, cyberattacks and American troops on the ground.

Late last month, U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that he and Carter believe U.S. forces in Iraq will increase in the coming weeks. Any final decision would be worked out with the Iraqi government and require President Barack Obama's approval.

Some of those decisions could become clearer in the coming days and weeks. Obama will be in Saudi Arabia later this week to meet with Gulf leaders and talk about the fight against the Islamic State group.

Oculus reacts to virtual reality privacy questions

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — An executive from virtual reality company Oculus says consumers shouldn't be concerned about an invasion of their privacy when using the Oculus Rift.

Jason Rubin , Oculus' head of worldwide studios, is downplaying questions raised about the VR system's privacy policy.

"It's a new medium," said Rubin during a Thursday interview. "People want to know. They have a right to ask. We'll answer. It'll be fine."

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) wrote an open letter to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe earlier this month asking for details about user data collected by the new VR system, which is worn on users' heads and can detect movement, location and sound.

"Oculus' creation of an immersive virtual reality experience is an exciting development, but it remains important to understand the extent to which Oculus may be collecting Americans personal information, including sensitive location data, and sharing that information with third parties," he wrote.

The few, the proud, the maxed-out Trump donors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Letantia Bussell, a Beverly Hills dermatologist, says she appreciates Donald Trump's "unique personality." Peter Zieve, an engineer in Washington, loves Trump because "the guy's a person, not a robot." Daniel Arias, an El Salvadoran immigrant in Florida, is positive Trump will put an end to newcomers "coming here and begging for food stamps."

They are the few, the proud, the maxed-out Trump donors.

The leader of the Republican presidential contest ridicules donors and insists he is a billionaire who wants to "self-fund." Yet there's a prominent "donate" button on his campaign website, and he has raised more than $9.5 million, including from about 200 people who have given $2,700, the maximum allowed by law for the primary election.

Because it's such a relatively small sample — a tiny sliver compared with Hillary Clinton's nearly 29,000 maxed-out donors — it's impossible to reach broad conclusions about Trump's benefactors. Still, these are arguably the most loyal of Trump fans, and their interviews with The Associated Press reveal unexpected layers of the political newcomer's appeal.

They're both attracted and repelled by Trump's inflammatory comments. Just like the thousands who attend Trump's massive rallies, these well-off fans want dramatic change and see Trump as the only person capable of making it happen. And far from being embarrassed by their candidate, the donors seem to love converting their friends and associates to the cause.

Oil bounces after producers fail to agree on freezing output

TOKYO (AP) — Crude oil prices tumbled but then regained some lost ground on Monday after oil-rich countries failed to reach an agreementSunday on freezing production.

U.S. crude oil was trading $1.88 lower at $38.48 a barrel by mid-afternoon in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It sank to a low of $37.61 a barrel, down 6.8 percent, before regaining some of that loss.

Brent crude oil, which is used to price international crude oil, fell $1.87 to $41.23 a barrel early Monday, down 4.3 percent. It tumbled 7 percent in earlier trading.

The effort to reach a consensus on freezing production to support prices failed after Iran stayed away from a weekend meeting of 18 oil producing nations in Qatar that had been expected to boost crude prices.

"The market basically rallied from $26.05 to levels above $40 on the 'hope' that there would be some kind of agreement at Doha. That did not happen," said Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities USA.

Amber Heard avoids jail in Australian dog smuggling spat

SYDNEY (AP) — Actor Johnny Depp's wife Amber Heard pleaded guilty Monday to providing a false immigration document amid allegations she smuggled the couple's dogs to Australia, but managed to avoid jail time over what was dubbed the "war on terrier" debacle.

Prosecutors dropped two more serious charges that Heard illegally imported the Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country last year, when Depp was filming the fifth movie in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series. A conviction on the illegal importation counts could have sent the actress to prison for up to 10 years.

The false documents charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of more than 10,000 Australian dollars ($7,650), but Magistrate Bernadette Callaghan sentenced Heard instead to a one-month good behavior bond. The condition means she will have to pay a AU$1,000 fine if she commits any offenses in Australia over the next month.

Depp and Heard said little to the waiting throng of reporters and fans outside the Southport Magistrates Court on Queensland state's Gold Coast, but did submit a videotaped apology to the court that was played during Monday's hearing.

"When you disrespect Australian law," a grim-looking Depp says in the video, "they will tell you firmly."

Champs back in Boston, but top Americans are resting for Rio

BOSTON (AP) — With the top American marathoners resting for the Rio Olympics, Neely Spence Gracey could be the best U.S. hope for a podium finish in Boston on Monday.

Gracey, 26, of Superior, Colorado, is an eight-time NCAA Division II national champion who will be making her marathon debut.

But in a way, she has been a marathoner all her life.

Gracey is the daughter of 1991 world championship bronze medalist Steve Spence. Her father finished 19th — the No. 2 American overall — in the 1989 Boston Marathon, and Gracey was born on Patriots' Day in 1990 while her father was running the race.

"I grew up hearing all about that story," she said.

That's what's happening. Read more stories to jump start your day in our special Breakfast Buzz section. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us