Trump lashes out at San Juan mayor who begged for more help
BRANCHBURG, N.J. (AP) - President Donald Trump on Saturday lashed out at the mayor of San Juan and other officials in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, contemptuous of their claims of a laggard U.S. response to the natural disaster that has imperiled the island's future.
"Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help," Trump said in a series of tweets a day after the capital city's mayor appealed for help "to save us from dying."
"They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort," Trump wrote from his New Jersey golf club.
The tweets were a biting attack on the leader of a community in crisis. After 10 days of desperation, with many still unable to access essentials including food and water, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz accused the Trump administration Friday of "killing us with the inefficiency" after Hurricane Maria. She implored the president, who is set to visit the U.S. territory on Tuesday, to "make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives."
"I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying," Cruz said at a news conference, her voice breaking with rage.
Price's exit further complicates GOP health care push
BRANCHBURG, N.J. (AP) - The ouster of Tom Price as President Donald Trump's health secretary is yet another self-inflicted blow for Republicans wishing to put their own stamp on health care - and the latest distraction for a White House struggling to advance its agenda after months of turmoil.
Price resigned Friday amid investigations into his use of costly charter flights for official travel at taxpayer expense. His exit makes it even more unlikely that Republicans will be able to deliver on their promise to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's law, even though they control the White House and both chambers of Congress.
"I think health care is a dead letter through the next election," Joe Antos, a policy expert with the business-oriented American Enterprise Institute, said Saturday.
The health secretary's exit capped a week in which a last-ditch GOP health care bill failed to advance in the Senate. Regaining momentum will be more difficult now that the White House also has to find a replacement for Price. That makes it harder to visualize how the administration and congressional Republicans can fulfill their goal of remaking the health care system along conservative lines, although Trump has said he's confident a plan can pass early next year.
Price - who Trump concluded had become a distraction - had been on the rocks with the president since before the travel flap. A former Republican congressman from Georgia, he proved less helpful than expected on the health care fight. Price played a supporting role while Vice President Mike Pence took the lead, especially with the Senate.
Tillerson says US has direct channels to talk to North Korea
BEIJING (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged on Saturday that the United State is maintaining direct channels of communications with North Korea even as tensions rise over the North's nuclear and missile programs and the countries' leaders spar through bellicose name-calling.
Tillerson said the U.S. was probing North Korea's willingness to talk, and called for a calming of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, adding it was incumbent on the North to halt the missile launches.
"We have lines of communication to Pyongyang. We're not in a dark situation, a blackout," Tillerson told reporters during a visit to China. "We have a couple ... three channels open to Pyongyang. We can talk to them, we do talk to them."
No elaboration about those channels or the substance of any discussions came from Tillerson, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top officials in Beijing.
While Tillerson affirmed that the U.S. would not recognize North Korea as a nuclear power, he also said the Trump administration had no intention of trying to oust Kim. "Despite assurances that the United States is not interested in promoting the collapse of the current regime, pursuing regime change, accelerating reunification of the peninsula or mobilizing forces north of the DMZ, North Korean officials have shown no indication that they are interested in or are ready for talks regarding denuclearization," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Trump tweets anew about NFL players, national anthem protest
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump on Saturday night stoked the controversy over his call for punitive action against NFL players who take a knee or otherwise protest during the national anthem, tweeting anew that they should remain standing out of respect for the nation and its flag.
Trump took time from a Twitter rant against criticism of the federal response to hurricane damage in Puerto Rico to tweet: "Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!"
Protesting during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" began last season when Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers, declined to stand as a way to bring attention to police treatment of blacks and to social injustice.
During a wide-ranging speech at a political rally in Alabama on Sept. 22, Trump called for NFL owners to fire players who engaged in such a protest. In the days that followed the president issued a series of tweets reiterating his views and calling for a boycott of games by fans.
Criticism from players, owners and fans - and some praise - greeted Trump's remarks. The controversy boiled for days and seemed to overshadow other issues facing the Trump presidency, including the failure of congressional Republicans to repeal and replace the nation's health care law, the primary loss in Alabama of Trump's favored candidate, a turbulent hurricane season and the back-and-forth between the U.S. and North Korea over missiles and nuclear weapons.
Prison official: OJ Simpson moving toward release in Nevada
LAS VEGAS (AP) - O.J. Simpson was apparently in transit Saturday, ahead of his release on parole as early as Monday - possibly in Las Vegas, a Nevada prisons official said.
State Department of Corrections public inmate records provided no information about Simpson's custody status or location, which prisons spokeswoman Brooke Keast said usually indicates that an inmate is being moved in custody. Locations are withheld for security reasons, she said.
"He is still in our custody, at least until (Sunday)," Keast said. "The department is progressing toward his release as soon as possible."
Simpson's attorney, Malcolm LaVergne, said he wouldn't confirm his client's location. He said that when he last spoke with Simpson, he was still at Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada.
When Simpson arrives at a prison facility, the department's public website will reflect his location, Keast said.
Separatists vow to defy police ultimatum over Catalan vote
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Catalan separatists vowed Saturday to ignore a police ultimatum to leave the schools they are occupying to use in a vote seeking independence from Spain. As police methodically sealed off hundreds of schools, some parents decided to send their children home and girded for pre-dawn confrontations Sunday with police.
Tensions rose across the country over the planned vote. In the Spanish capital of Madrid, thousands marched to protest the separatists' attempt to break up their nation, demanding that Catalan leaders be sent to jail. In Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, thousands more also took to the streets to urge their prosperous region to stay united with Spain.
The police deadline of 6 a.m. Sunday for the activists, parents and children in the occupied Catalan schools is designed to prevent the vote from taking place, since the polls are supposed to open three hours later.
Spain's Constitutional Court suspended the independence vote more than three weeks ago and the national government calls it illegal. Police have been ordered to stop ballots from being cast on Sunday and have been cracking down for days, confiscating millions of ballots and posters.
Catalonia's defiant regional government is pressing ahead anyway, urging the region's 5.3 million voters to make their voices heard.
Mormon leader reaffirms faith's opposition to gay marriage
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A top Mormon leader reaffirmed the religion's opposition to same-sex marriage on Saturday during a church conference - and reminded followers watching around the world that children should be raised in families led by a married man and woman no matter what becomes the norm in a "declining world."
The speech by Dallin H. Oaks, a member of a top governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, followed a push in recent years by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to uphold theological opposition to gay marriage amid widespread social acceptance while trying to foster an empathetic stance toward LGBT people.
The Mormon church is one of many conservative faith groups navigating the challenges that arise from trying to strike the right balance.
"We have witnessed a rapid and increasing public acceptance of cohabitation without marriage and same-sex marriage. The corresponding media advocacy, education, and even occupational requirements pose difficult challenges for Latter-day Saints," Oaks said. "We must try to balance the competing demands of following the gospel law in our personal lives and teachings even as we seek to show love for all."
Oaks acknowledged that this belief can put Mormons at odds with family and friends and doesn't match current laws, including the recent legalization of gay marriage in the United States. But he told members of the nearly 16-million member faith watching around the world that the religion's 1995 document detailing the doctrine - "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" - isn't' a policy statement that will be changed.
'Let's Make a Deal' host, philanthropist Monty Hall dies
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Monty Hall, the genial TV game show host whose long-running "Let's Make a Deal" traded on love of money and merchandise and the mystery of which door had the car behind it, has died. He was 96.
Hall, who had been in poor health, died Saturday morning of heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills, said his daughter, Sharon Hall of Los Angeles.
"Let's Make a Deal," which Hall co-created, debuted as a daytime show on NBC in 1963 and became a TV staple. Through the next four decades, it also aired in prime time, in syndication and, in two brief outings, with hosts other than Hall at the helm.
An episode of "The Odd Couple" featured Felix Unger (Tony Randall) and Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman) as bickering guests on Hall's program.
Contestants were chosen from the studio audience - outlandishly dressed as animals, clowns or cartoon characters to attract the host's attention - and would start the game by trading an item of their own for a prize. After that, it was matter of swapping the prize in hand for others hidden behind doors, curtains or in boxes, presided over by the leggy, smiling Carol Merrill.
Released sea turtle carries oceanographer's ashes out to sea
PORT ARANSAS, Texas (AP) - A rescued green sea turtle named Picasso was released back into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, carrying the ashes of a self-taught Texas oceanographer who founded the rehabilitation center that helped nurse it back to health.
Hundreds of well-wishers surged forward to get better views during a sunset ceremony that effectively allowed Tony Amos, who devoted his life to helping the endangered reptiles, to do so once more in death. On a stretch of beach named in his honor, Amos' wife, Lynn; his son, Michael; and other relatives sprinkled ashes on the turtle's back, then watched it slowly flap and craw its way into the waves.
"Come on little turtle, off you go. The sun's about to set," called Lynn Amos, when the creature stopped and briefly raised its head, almost as if to acknowledge the onlookers.
Many in attendance were barefoot. Some choked back tears. When the turtle finally disappeared into the shimmering surf, a few cried, "Bye Tony!"
Amos, 80, died of complications from prostate cancer on Sept. 4, mere days after Harvey roared ashore as a fearsome Category 4 hurricane. It damaged the Animal Rehabilitation Keep for ailing sea turtles and aquatic birds that Amos opened nearly four decades ago.
Kelly Bryant leads No. 2 Clemson past No. 12 Hokies, 31-17
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Kelly Bryant ran around and away from No. 12 Virginia Tech and led No. 2 Clemson to a 31-10 victory Saturday night, the Tigers' third in three games against teams in the Top 25.
Making just his fifth start, the junior ran for 94 yards, hit Tavien Feaster with a pass the speedy running back took 60 yards for a score and avoided mistakes. He also kept alive a late scoring drive after scrambling right on a play that started at the 5, dodging three Hokies, shaking free from an ankle tackle and eventually turning back upfield at the 23. He zig-zagged all the way back to the 4.
The defending national champion Tigers (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have also beaten No. 13 Auburn 14-6 and No. 17 Louisville 47-21. This triumph was their 12th in a row on the road, and fifth in a row against Virginia Tech, including the 2016 ACC championship.
Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1) never mustered much offense and got its only touchdown after Isaiah Simmons made an ankle tackle on Greg Stroman's 43-yard punt return to the Tigers 2. Sean Savoy ran it on the next play, but the Hokies had just 234 yards through three quarters.
Feaster and C.J. Fuller also scored on 1-yard runs for the Tigers, and Dorian O'Daniel returned an interception 22 yards for a TD.