AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EDT




GOP could be near Trump breaking point; frustration abounds

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — The Republican Party could be nearing a breaking point with Donald Trump.

As he skips from one gaffe to the next, GOP leaders in Washington and in the most competitive states have begun openly contemplating turning their backs on their party's presidential nominee to prevent what they fear will be wide-scale Republican losses on Election Day.

Back in 1996, the party largely gave up on nominee Bob Dole once it became clear he had little chance of winning, so it's not without precedent. Nevertheless, it's a jolting prospect now, with roughly three months still left before the Nov. 8 vote and weeks before the three presidential debates.

Republicans who have devoted their professional lives to electing GOP candidates say they believe the White House already may be lost. They're exasperated by Trump's divisive politics and his insistence on running a general election campaign that mirrors his approach to the primaries.

"Based on his campaign record, there's no chance he's going to win," said Sara Fagen, the political director for former President George W. Bush. "He's losing groups of people he can't get back."

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US-backed Syrian force captures key IS stronghold of Manbij

BEIRUT (AP) — On the streets of Manbij, men chanted slogans against the Islamic State group or clipped their beards and women walked with their faces uncovered for the first time in over two-and-a-half years, hours after the militant group was pushed out of the northern Syrian city.

U.S.-backed fighters seized the key Islamic State stronghold late Friday after two months of heavy fighting that killed more than 1000 people and displaced thousands. The fighters also freed hundreds of civilians the extremists had used as human shields, Syrian Kurdish officials and an opposition activist group said.

The capture of Manbij is the biggest defeat for the extremist group in Syria since July 2015, when they lost the town of Tal Abyad on the border with Turkey. The capture of Tal Abyad deprived the militant group of a direct route to bring in new foreign militants or supplies.

Manbij is important because it lies on a key supply route between the Turkish border and the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the IS group's self-styled caliphate.

Manbij had been under IS control since January 2014, when the extremists evicted other Syrian militant groups from the town.

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Swiss police report stabbings, fire on train; suspect held

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Switzerland say a Swiss man set a fire and stabbed people on a train in the country's northeast, wounding six people as well as himself.

Police in St. Gallen canton (state) say the incident happened at 2:20 local time (1220 GMT) Saturday afternoon as the train neared the station in Salez, near the border with Liechtenstein.

They say the 27-year-old suspect had at least one knife and poured out a flammable liquid, which caught fire.

Police spokesman Bruno Metzger said that the assailant poured the liquid on one woman, and that it appeared to have caught fire when it came into contact with oxygen.

Police say the wounded included a 6-year-old child, three women aged 17, 34 and 43, and two men aged 17 and 50. Some of the injuries were said to be serious but there were no further details immediately.

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Imam, associate fatally shot after leaving NYC mosque

NEW YORK (AP) — The leader of a New York City mosque and an associate were fatally shot in a brazen daylight attack as they left afternoon prayers Saturday.

Police said 55-year-old Imam Maulama Akonjee and his 64-year-old associate, Thara Uddin, were shot in the back of the head as they left the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in the Ozone Park section of Queens shortly before 2 p.m.

Both men were pronounced dead later Saturday, an administrator at Jamaica Hospital said.

Police said no motive has been established and there is no reason to believe the men were shot because they were Muslim. No suspects are in custody.

"There's nothing in the preliminary investigation to indicate that they were targeted because of their faith," said Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner of the New York Police Department.

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3 killed in 'historic' Louisiana floods; thousands rescued

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As the floodwaters swallowed Lyn Gibson's two-story home, she hacked away on a hole near the roof, desperately trying to get to safety.

She used a saw, a screwdriver and her feet, knocking her way through wood, vinyl and sheet rock.

"I just kept picking and hitting and prying until I could get a hole big enough," the slightly-built, 115-pound woman said. "I would saw for a while. I'd kick at it for a while."

Eventually, Gibson made it out of her Tangipahoa Parish home with her dogs, and they were all rescued by National Guard soldiers on a boat. It was one of thousands of rescues after a deluge dropped more than a foot of rain on parts of Louisiana, submerging roads, cars and homes.

At least three people were killed across the state.

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Rio still struggles with litany of problems through 1st week

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rows of empty seats, green water, controlled explosions, stray bullets, the killing of a young policeman in a favela, muggings of team officials, an attack on a media bus, spotty weather, snarled traffic, long travel distances and lack of a Carnival atmosphere.

Halfway through the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is still struggling with a litany of problems that have underlined the challenges of taking the games away from their traditional territories, and made clear they may not go to untested regions again in the near future.

The athletes and sports competitions have risen to the occasion, the Brazilians have been welcoming and friendly, and TV pictures beamed around the world have featured Rio's beautiful scenery and backdrops at their best.

Overall, though, Olympic officials and veterans say Rio has been beset by so many organizational issues that South America's first games have been more of a disappointment than a delight.

"It has been along the lines of what experienced Olympic observers and organizers would have expected," said Dick Pound, the IOC's longest-serving member, in an interview with The Associated Press. "Then you add the political and corruption issues, and they didn't have a chance to get everything done the way they would have liked to."

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French minister inspects stepped-up security at Lourdes

PARIS (AP) — Soldiers, police and undercover agents are mixing with pilgrims, some hoping for a miracle cure, at the French pilgrimage site of Lourdes, where some 20,000 are expected to gather on Monday for the Feast of the Assumption — a security challenge for France on high alert for terrorist attacks.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve inspected the more than 500 security forces at the shrine on Saturday, two days before Monday's celebration of the Assumption when, according to Roman Catholic belief, Mary, the mother of Jesus, ascended into heaven.

A down-to-earth security plan is greeting pilgrims as they arrive in this town nestled in verdant southwest France, coming from around the country and from abroad. Police and soldiers were already milling among pilgrims on Saturday, around the sanctuary or the plaza in front of the sprawling white Basilica.

Monday's outdoor Mass will present a special security challenge since some pilgrims are in wheelchairs or on stretchers, making the trip here in hopes of finding a miraculous cure.

Cazenueve said that 297 extra forces were brought in — mobile units, soldiers, bomb squads, canine units — to help local forces, raising the security presence to 508. In addition, pilgrims are being patted down and their bags checked at three entrances to the Lourdes Sanctuary — reduced from 12 in normal times, Lourdes officials have said. Video surveillance cameras have been mounted, drones forbidden and traffic rerouted away from the site at critical hours of the day.

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What Trump and Clinton didn't say in their economic speeches

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spelled out their economic visions in high-profile speeches in Michigan this week. They delved into taxes and regulations, trade deals and job growth.

Yet perhaps most notable about their speeches is what they left out.

Mostly unmentioned were major challenges that have slowed the U.S. economy and made good-paying jobs harder to find, particularly in struggling pockets of the country. They are challenges that tend to preoccupy economists and defy simple fixes:

A less efficient workforce. A dwindling proportion of adults either working or looking for work. Automation and increasingly high-skilled jobs that require technological know-how that many people lack.

They are problems that analysts say require a transformative vision. Yet neither candidate voiced anything like the high-reaching themes that were hallmarks of previous campaigns — from Bill Clinton's "Bridge to the 21stcentury," which urged Americans to face a more globalized economy, or George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind," which sought to overhaul public education to better serve more children.

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What to watch at the Rio Games on Sunday

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Day 9 of the Rio Games features medal action in track and field, gymnastics, tennis, golf, fencing and more. Here are some things to watch (all times local):

TRACK AND FIELD

The title of world's fastest man goes on the block when Jamaican Usain Bolt , American Justin Gatlin and the other sprinters take to the track. The 100 meter final is at 10:25 p.m. following three rounds of semifinals that start at 9 p.m.

Bolt won his first heat of the games in 10.07 seconds Saturday. He's still a favorite for an unprecedented third straight gold, despite a sore hamstring that forced him from the world championships last month.

Gatlin took Saturday's fastest time in the heats.

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Farewell day for Michael Phelps at Rio; Bolt heating up

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — This is goodbye for Michael Phelps. The most decorated athlete in Olympic history has one more race before retirement.

His shot at a 28th medal comes Saturday in the final slate of swimming at the Rio de Janeiro Games, where Usain Bolt thrilled the crowd at Olympic Stadium in his first appearance of the games and Rafael Nadal's bid for an unprecedented second Olympic singles gold medal ended with a thrill-a-minute semifinal loss to Juan Martin del Potro.

Monica Puig won Puerto Rico's first gold medal in any sport in Olympic history, upsetting Angelique Kerber in the women's tennis singles final at the Rio Games. Puig is ranked 34th and is the first unseeded women's singles gold medalist since tennis returned to the Olympics in 1988.

Seeded second, Kerber won the Australian Open in January and was the runner-up at Wimbledon last month. She was trying to give Germany its first singles gold since Steffi Graf in 1988, but instead goes home with silver.

With four gold medals at these games and 22 for his career, Phelps needs some help from his teammates to win another — he leads off with the butterfly leg of the 400 medley relay.
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