Saudis say they will defend themselves, as Trump warns Iran
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday after the kingdom’s energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf.
U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, warned Iran that it will face destruction if it seeks a fight, while Iranian officials said their country isn’t looking for war. Trump spoke after a rocket hit near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke a week after four oil tankers— two of them Saudi — were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that… but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests,” al-Jubeir told reporters.
On Sunday night, the U.S. military command that oversees the Mideast confirmed an explosion outside the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad and said there were no U.S. or coalition casualties.
Hundreds protest Alabama abortion ban: ‘My body, my choice!’
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Hundreds of demonstrators marched to the Alabama Capitol on Sunday to protest the state’s newly approved abortion ban, chanting “my body, my choice!” and “vote them out!”
The demonstration came days after Gov. Kay Ivey signed the most stringent abortion law in the nation— making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases unless necessary for the mother’s health. The law provides no exception for rape and incest.
“Banning abortion does not stop abortion. It stops safe abortion,” said Staci Fox, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, addressing the cheering crowd outside the Alabama Capitol.
Alabama is part of a wave of conservative states seeking to mount new legal challenges to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.
None of the laws has actually taken effect, and all are expected to be blocked by the courts as the legal challenges play out with an ultimate eye on the Supreme Court.
Trump’s ‘great patriot’ farmers follow him into a trade war
MADRID, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmer Tim Bardole survived years of low crop prices and rising costs by cutting back on fertilizer and herbicides and fixing broken-down equipment rather than buying new. When President Donald Trump’s trade war with China made a miserable situation worse, Bardole used up any equity his operation had and started investing in hogs in hopes they’ll do better than crops.
A year later, the dispute is still raging and soybeans hit a 10-year-low. But Bardole says he supports his president more today than he did when he cast a ballot for Trump in 2016, skeptical he would follow through on his promises.
“He does really seem to be fighting for us,” Bardole says, “even if it feels like the two sides are throwing punches and we’re in the middle, taking most of the hits.”
Trump won the presidency by winning rural America, in part by pledging to use his business savvy and tough negotiating skills to take on China and put an end to trade practices that have hurt farmers for years. While the prolonged fight has been devastating to an already-struggling agriculture industry, there’s little indication Trump is paying a political price. But there’s a big potential upside if he can get a better deal — and little downside if he continues to get credit for trying for the farmers caught in the middle. It’s a calculation Trump recognizes heading into a reelection bid where he needs to hold on to farm states like Iowa and Wisconsin and is looking to flip others, like Minnesota.
A March CNN/Des Moines Register poll of registered Republicans in Iowa found 81% approved of how Trump is handling his job, and 82% had a favourable view of the president, an increase of 5 points since December. About two-thirds said they’d definitely vote to re-elect him. The poll had a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.
11 people killed in reported gun attack at bar in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A gang of gunmen reportedly attacked a bar in the capital of Brazil’s northern Pará state Sunday afternoon, and authorities said 11 people were killed.
The state security agency confirmed late Sunday only that six women and five men died in the incident in the Guamá neighbourhood of the Pará state capital, Belem.
The G1 news website said police reported that seven gunmen were involved in the attack, which also wounded one person. The news outlet said the attackers arrived at the bar on one motorcycle and in three cars.
In late March, the federal government sent National Guard troops to Belém to reinforce security in the city for 90 days.
Brazil hit a record high of 64,000 homicides in 2017, 70% of which were due to firearms, according to official statistics.
Pot ‘legalization 2.0’: Social equity becomes a key question
NEW YORK (AP) — Advocates for legalizing marijuana have long argued it would strike a blow for social justice after a decades-long drug war that disproportionately targeted minority and poor communities.
But social equity has been both a sticking point and selling point this year in New York and New Jersey, among other states weighing whether to join the 10 that allow recreational use of pot.
Complicating the law-making process, sometimes even among supporters, are questions about how best to erase marijuana convictions and ensure that people who were arrested for pot benefit from legal marijuana markets.
Advocates say legalization elsewhere hasn’t done enough to achieve those goals. Critics maintain legal pot is even accelerating inequality as the drug becomes big business for companies generally run by white men.
“We’re at the stage of marijuana reform 2.0,” said Douglas Berman, an Ohio State University law professor who follows marijuana policy. The conversation, he said, has shifted from just being about legalization to, “which track should we make sure we head down?”
Elder care homes rake in profits as workers earn a pittance
She alights from a black Ferrari convertible, her Christian Louboutin stilettos glinting in the sunlight. The lid of her black lacquer grand piano is propped open in the living room of her plush Beverly Hills home.
“I own a chain of elderly care facilities,” she says into the camera on Bravo’s reality television show “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” ”My net worth is $3 to $4 million, probably.”
Stephanie Costa was 30 and enjoying a lifestyle supported in part by six board-and-care homes she owned in California’s Central Valley. But half of that fortune was threatened when she and her company initially were cited for about $1.6 million for labour violations, including wage theft – not paying 11 employees for working much of 24 hours a day, six days a week.
Costa, who declined to be interviewed for this story, is a rare public face of a burgeoning multibillion-dollar elder care industry that is enabling operators to become wealthy by treating workers as indentured servants. Across the country, legions of these caregivers earn a pittance to tend to the elderly in residential houses refurbished as care facilities, according to an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
The profit margins can be huge and, for violators of labour laws, hinge on the widespread exploitation of thousands of caretakers, many of them poor immigrants effectively earning $2 to $3.50 an hour to work around the clock. The federal hourly minimum wage is $7.25.
Speaker stuns 2019 Morehouse grads, to pay off student debt
A billionaire technology investor stunned the entire graduating class at Morehouse College when he announced at their commencement Sunday that he would pay off their student loans __ estimated at up to $40 million.
Robert F. Smith, this year’s commencement speaker, made the announcement while addressing nearly 400 graduating seniors of the all-male historically black college in Atlanta. Smith, who is black, is the Founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software, data, and technology-driven companies.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus,” the investor and philanthropist told graduates in his morning address. “This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”
The announcement immediately drew stunned looks from faculty and students alike. Then the graduates broke into the biggest cheers of the morning and stood up, applauding. Morehouse said it is the single largest gift to the college.
Though college officials could not provide an estimate of the exact amount owed by the current graduating class, students graduate with an average debt of $30,000 to $40,000, said Terrance L. Dixon, vice-president of enrolment management.
AP Exclusive: Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost are engaged
Wedding bells are in the future for actress Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost of “Saturday Night Live.”
Johansson’s publicist Marcel Pariseau tells The Associated Press Sunday that the private couple is officially engaged after two years of dating. Pariseau says no date has been set for the nuptials.
Johansson, 34, was previously married to actor Ryan Reynolds and journalist Romain Dauriac, with whom she has a daughter named Rose who was born in 2014.
This is the first marriage for the 36-year-old Jost, who is the co-anchor of SNL’s Weekend Update.
The couple recently walked the red carpet together at the premiere of “Avengers: Endgame,” in which Johansson plays the character of Black Widow.
Leonard scores 36, Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2 OTs
TORONTO (AP) — Pascal Siakam felt guilty about a pair of missed free throws and the extra minutes they added to his teammates’ night.
Fortunately for Siakam and the rest of the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard didn’t seem to feel any fatigue.
Leonard scored 36 points, including eight in the second overtime, and Toronto beat Milwaukee 118-112 on Sunday night to cut the Bucks’ lead in the Eastern Conference finals to 2-1.
Leonard made 11 of 25 shots and went 12 for 13 at the free throw line in more than 52 minutes of action, a playoff career high.
“At the end of the game, Kawhi said he played an hour of basketball,” Siakam said. “I told him ‘My bad.'”
Koepka survives Bethpage Black to win PGA Championship
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — His place in PGA Championship history finally secure, Brooks Koepka draped both arms around the top of the Wanamaker Trophy and let out a deep sigh.
The stress was more than he wanted. The satisfaction was more than he imagined.
Koepka lost all but one shot of his record seven-shot lead Sunday. Then he lost the brutal Long Island crowd, which began chants of “D.J.! D.J.!” as Koepka was on his way to a fourth straight bogey that allowed Dustin Johnson to pull within one shot.
“It’s New York,” Koepka said. “What do you expect when you’re half-choking it away?”
He responded like a player capable of piling up major championships faster than anyone since Tiger Woods.
The Associated Press