Opponents of Trump's travel ban look to score another win
WASHINGTON (AP) — Opponents of President Donald Trump's travel ban sought Friday to rack up another legal victory against the measure, believing they have the administration on the defensive after a federal appeals court refused to reinstate the order.
As government attorneys debated their next move, they faced unsympathetic judges on both coasts.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided Thursday with the states of Washington and Minnesota in refusing to reinstate the ban, opening the possibility that the case could advance to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Friday, a federal judge in Virginia also seemed inclined to rule against the administration in a different challenge.
For his part, Trump said Friday that he is considering signing a "brand new order" while the ban is held up in court.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he flew to Florida for the weekend, the president said he expected his administration to win the legal battle over his original directive. But he said the White House was also weighing other alternatives, including making changes to the order, which suspended the nation's refugee program and barred all entries from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Trump says he might give travel ban a tweak or a makeover
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he might give his refugee and immigration travel ban a second try, either as a revision or as a new order, as he contends with an appeals court ruling that prevents the ban from being enforced.
Trump said he expected to win the legal battle over his original directive even though options were being considered by the White House.
Advisers were debating the next step in response to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a restraining order on the travel ban. The White House directive had suspended the nation's refugee program and barred all entries from seven Muslim-majority countries.
A White House official initially suggested the administration would not ask the Supreme Court to overturn that order. But chief of staff Reince Priebus scrambled to clarify to reporters that "every single court option is on the table," including a high court appeal or "fighting out this case on the merits" in a lower court.
Trump's executive order was hastily unveiled at the end of his first week in office. While the White House boasted that Trump was fulfilling a campaign promise to toughen vetting procedures for people coming from countries with terror ties, the order caused chaos at airports in the U.S. and sparked protests across the country.
AP PHOTOS: A selection of pictures from the past week
Highlights from the weekly AP photo report, a gallery featuring a mix of front-page photography, the odd image you might have missed and lasting moments our editors think you should see.
This week's gallery features a bull-taming festival in India, African migrants arriving in Sicily, and a mock funeral that marks the end of carnival season in Cuba.
This gallery contains photos published, Feb. 4-Feb. 10, 2017.
See the latest AP photo galleries: http://apne.ws/TXeCBN
Trump attacks on judiciary raise safety concerns for judges
SEATTLE (AP) — When a judge who helped derail President Donald Trump's travel ban was hit with online threats, the abuse raised safety concerns among jurists across the country, and experts are worried that the president's own attacks on the judiciary could make judges a more inviting target.
U.S. District Judge James Robart imposed the temporary restraining order that halted enforcement of Trump's ban last week. The president soon sent a tweet saying the opinion of "this so-called judge" was "ridiculous and would be overturned." He also tweeted that the judge was "a known liberal sympathizer" and had "just opened the door to terrorists!"
Robart quickly became a target on social media. Someone on Twitter called him a "DEAD MAN WALKING" and another on Facebook suggested that he be imprisoned at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, "where other enemies of the US are held."
"I know there's a fear among the judiciary with what's being said," said John Muffler, a former U.S. marshal who teaches security at the Reno, Nevada-based National Judicial College. He cited professional contacts and email exchanges with judges.
The president's critical comments have consequences, he added, because "people on the edge can easily be pushed over the edge once the rhetoric gets going."
Trump hugs ally Japan after easing US-China tensions
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump, fresh off patching up ties with China, reassured Japan's leader Friday that the U.S. will defend its close ally. Together, the pronouncements illustrated a shift toward a more mainstream Trump stance on U.S. policy toward Asia.
Welcoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House with a hug, Trump said he wants to bring the post-World War II alliance with Japan "even closer." While such calls are ritual after these types of meetings, from Trump they're sure to calm anxieties that he has stoked by demanding that America's partners pay more for their own defense.
Abe, a nationalist adept at forging relationships with self-styled strongmen overseas, was the only world leader to meet the Republican before his inauguration. He is now the second to do so since Trump took office. Flattering the billionaire businessman, Abe said he would welcome the United States becoming "even greater."
He also invited Trump to visit Japan this year. Trump accepted, according to a joint statement.
Other leaders of America's closest neighbors and allies, such as Mexico, Britain and Australia, have been singed by their encounters or conversations with Trump.
Mexico gets Trump's trade ire. Japan and Germany, a pass
WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Donald Trump rages about unfair trading practices, he usually directs his ire at China and Mexico.
By comparison, Japan and Germany get off easy.
The focus on China is understandable: The U.S. trade deficit in goods with China ($347 billion last year) is five times bigger than any other.
The U.S. trade gap with Mexico ($63.2 billion), though, is smaller than the ones with Japan ($68.9 billion) and Germany ($64.9 billion).
Still, when it comes to Trump's rhetoric, "the volume on Mexico is three times as high," says Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Poland's PM suffered "nothing serious" in car crash
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo is in stable condition and can carry out her government duties as "nothing serious happened to her" when her limousine was involved in a car crash, her spokesman said Saturday.
However, Rafal Bochenek said Szydlo, 53, was undergoing tests, including X-rays, and will remain "for some time" in a government hospital in Warsaw, where she was brought on her own request. He could not immediately confirm whether she will attend the weekly government meeting on Tuesday.
Dr. Andrzej Jakubowski, who first examined Szydlo after the crash Friday night, said she suffered some slight injuries and was in some pain, but that the prognosis was good. TVP INFO, a state TV program, said she suffered bruises to her chest from her seat belt.
The accident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. Friday in the southern town of Oswiecim, Szydlo's hometown, where she was arriving for the weekend.
Her car was in the middle of a three-car convoy going at some 50 kilometers (30 miles) per hour on the town's main road when a small Fiat car they were overtaking suddenly turned left and into her limousine, causing it to hit a tree, according to local police spokesman Sebastian Glen.
Powerful quake kills at least 6 in southern Philippines
SURIGAO, Philippines (AP) — A powerful nighttime earthquake in the southern Philippines killed at least six people and injured more than 120, with officials combing through cracked buildings and nearby towns Saturday to check on the damage and other possible casualties.
The magnitude 6.7 quake roused residents from their sleep late Friday in Surigao del Norte province, forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes. The quake was centered about 16 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of the provincial capital of Surigao at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), said Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology.
Nearly 100 aftershocks have been felt, officials said. Evacuation centers accommodated wary residents overnight, but many returned home Saturday, Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said, adding that officials were continuing to assess the damage in Surigao and outlying towns.
Provincial information officer Mary Jul Escalante was being interviewed by ABS-CBN TV network when another aftershock struck. "Oh sir, there's an aftershock," she said. "I'm shaking, we have a phobia now."
At least six people were killed, mostly after being struck by falling debris and concrete walls, provincial disaster-response official Gilbert Gonzales said. At least 126 others were injured in Surigao, where the quake knocked out power and forced the closure of the domestic airport due to deep cracks in its runway, officials said.
AP FACT CHECK: Are immigration raids result of Trump policy?
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Advocacy groups say that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are rounding up people in large numbers around the country as part of stepped-up enforcement under President Donald Trump.
They say a roundup in Southern California was especially heavy-handed and cite arrests in places such as Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Texas and North Carolina that have rattled immigrants.
The government says it's simply enforcing the laws and conducting routine enforcement targeting immigrants in the country illegally with criminal records. Authorities say it's no different than what happened during the Obama years on a regular basis.
The truth lies somewhere in between. Here are some of the facts surrounding what's happening with immigration enforcement:
TRUMP VS. OBAMA
More whales strand in New Zealand, bringing total to 650
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A new pod of 240 whales swam aground at a remote New Zealand beach on Saturday just hours after weary volunteers managed to refloat a different group of whales following an earlier mass stranding.
In total, more than 650 pilot whales have beached themselves along a 5 kilometer (3 mile) stretch of coastline over two days on Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island. About 335 of the whales are dead, 220 remain stranded, and 100 are back at sea.
Department of Conservation Golden Bay Operations Manager Andrew Lamason said they are sure they're dealing with a new pod because they had tagged all the refloated whales from the first group and none of the new group had tags.
The news was devastating for hundreds of volunteers who had come from around the country to help with the initial group of 416 stranded whales that was found early Friday, many of them already dead.
Volunteers are planning to return Sunday to help refloat as many healthy whales as they can.