Thursday, October 27
CAMPAIGN 2016-TRUMP-VOTE RIGGING
Trump raises possibility of Texas vote-rigging
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump is again raising the possibility of election rigging in a tweet that follows unsubstantiated claims in Texas of voters having their ballots changed.
The Republican presidential candidate on Thursday tweeted there was "a lot of call-ins about vote flipping" in Texas voting booths. He also said there were big lines and people "are not happy."
Some social media posts claimed machines flipped Trump votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton. Election officials have said the machines aren't malfunctioning, and that some voters may be inadvertently making errors. One county near Houston did report a software glitch affecting straight-ticket voting, but said the issue has been resolved.
Trump has claimed the vote nationwide may be soiled by widespread voter fraud, but has not provided evidence to back up that claim.
TRUMP STAR VANDALIZED
UPDATE: Suspect arrested in destruction of Trump's Hollywood star
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police have arrested a man suspected of using a sledgehammer to destroy Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Officer Andrew Chambers says Jamie Otis was arrested early Thursday on suspicion of felony vandalism. It wasn't immediately known if Otis has an attorney.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which maintains the popular tourist attraction, says it will take several days to repair Trump's star.
Otis told several media outlets after Wednesday's pre-dawn attack that he originally intended to remove the star. He says he wanted to auction it off to raise funds for the 11 women accusing the presidential candidate of groping them. Trump has denied the groping allegations.
Trump's star was dedicated in recognition of his work on NBC's "The Apprentice."
UPDATE: Putin defends Syrian forces' siege of Aleppo
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin is defending Russia's support for the Syrian army's siege of the rebel-held eastern districts of the city of Aleppo, saying it's necessary to crush the militants there.
Putin spoke on Thursday to international foreign policy experts in Sochi. He says there is choice between "keeping a terrorist nest there or crushing that nest while minimizing civilian casualties."
Russia's air campaign in support of the Syrian troops' offensive on Aleppo has drawn international outrage. Moscow has denied striking civilians and has blamed Washington for failing to persuade the U.S.-backed rebels in the city to cut their ties with fighters from al-Qaida's branch.
Putin shrugged off the calls to end the onslaught on Aleppo, arguing that the U.S.-backed, Iraqi-led siege of Mosul should also be halted then, and the prospective attack on Raqqa by the U.S.-led coalition should not be launched at all.
UPDATE: Pipeline protesters set up barricades on highway
CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — Protesters against the Dakota Access pipeline are gearing up for a confrontation with authorities over a patch of private land on the pipeline route.
Protesters constructed two barricades Thursday on a highway near the camp they have established on property owned by the pipeline's developer. They barricades are made of tires, hay bales, logs, plywood and barbed wire.
Protesters also are moving from their main camp, which is on federally owned land, to the camp on the private property. Riders on horseback are monitoring the movements of authorities.
On Wednesday, authorities gathered in the area with heavy equipment including Humvees and buses and demanded the protesters leave the private land. The protesters refused.
Protester Robert Eder says if authorities clear out the camp, "there will be twice as many tomorrow."
CALL CENTER SCAM
US charging 61 people in call center scam based in India
WASHINGTON (AP) — It can be a frightening call to get.
Callers posing as tax and immigration agents are threatening arrest, deportation or other punishment unless money is sent to help clear up what they say is a deportation warrant or to cover unpaid income taxes.
The government says it's a scam — one that's tricked at least 15,000 people into shelling out more than $300 million.
Now the Justice Department is announcing charges in connection with a call center operation that officials say is based in India.
Federal prosecutors have unsealed an indictment charging 61 defendants in the United States and abroad, including five call center groups.
The department says the extorted funds ended up being laundered with the help of prepaid debit cards.
Arrests are taking place throughout the United States.
NEW: Family Council hails ruling against medical pot plan
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A social conservative group opposed to medical marijuana says the Arkansas Supreme Court did the right thing by disqualifying from the ballot one of two proposals legalizing the drug for patients.
Family Council Action Committee Executive Director Jerry Cox said in a statement Thursday that the court's ruling against Issue 7 over its signatures was the right move. But Cox said he believes the remaining medical marijuana proposal, known as Issue 6, is just as bad if not worse.
Cox cited concerns about the impact the measure would have on schools and employers.
The committee was part of a coalition of groups that have campaigned against both medical marijuana proposals.
Broadband privacy rules approved despite industry pushback
NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators have approved new broadband privacy rules that make internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon ask customers' permission before using or sharing much of their data.
The Federal Communications Commission's measure was scaled back from an earlier proposal, but was still criticized by the advertising, telecommunications and cable industries.
Cable and phone companies want to grow revenue from ad businesses of their own, and the new rules could make doing that more difficult.
They say it's confusing and unfair that the regulations are stricter than the Federal Trade Commission standards that digital-advertising behemoths such as Google and Facebook operate under. The FCC does not regulate such web companies.
FCC officials passed the rules on a 3-2 vote, its latest contentious measure to pass on party lines.
Amtrak to pay $265 million for deadly Philadelphia crash
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Amtrak will pay $265 million to settle claims related to a deadly derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight people and injured more than 200 others.
Lawyers who negotiated the settlement say people will have their awards in hand by June instead of going through years of legal wrangling.
Amtrak has previously taken responsibility for the May 2015 crash. Federal law caps payouts for any one accident at $295 million. That cap was raised from $200 million after the crash.
Lawyer Thomas Kline led the negotiations with Amtrak and says individuals could get the full value of their claims — or more or less — depending on how far the settlement fund stretches.
The injuries range from catastrophic, including one man left a paraplegic, to people who suffered emotional trauma.
NEW: Roommate pleads guilty to charge in Rutgers webcam case
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A former Rutgers University student whose roommate killed himself after being captured on a webcam kissing another man has pleaded guilty to attempted invasion of privacy.
Thursday's plea from Dharun Ravi (dah-ROON' RAH'-vee) comes after an appeals court last month threw out a 15-count conviction against him in a case that stemmed from the 2010 death of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi.
Clementi's death started a national conversation about the treatment of young gays.
Ravi was sentenced Thursday to probation plus 30 days in jail, and won't serve any additional jail time under the plea agreement. He had faced up to 10 years in prison.
The plea comes after the court tossed several bias intimidation counts because of a change in New Jersey law and ordered a new trial on other counts.
Cranberries squashed as folk remedy for urinary infections
CHICAGO (AP) — Another folk medicine remedy bites the dust. Cranberry capsules didn't prevent or cure urinary infections in nursing home residents in a study challenging persistent unproven claims to the contrary.
The research adds to decades of conflicting evidence on whether cranberries in any form can prevent extremely common bacterial infections, especially in women.
Many studies suggesting a benefit were based on weak science. But marketers and even some doctors still recommend cranberry juice or capsules. An editorial released with the study Thursday says the results are convincing, and that that it's time to find better ways to treat these infections.
The study and editorial are in the online version of Journal of the American Medical Association.
UPDATE: Stocks edge mostly lower on Wall Street
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are edging mostly lower in midday trading as industrial companies like defense contractor Raytheon fall.
Bond yields are moving higher Thursday as investors sold government bonds. That's helping to send high-dividend stocks like real estate companies and utilities lower.
Health care companies bucked the downward trend.
Drugmaker Celgene jumped 7 percent after reporting earnings that easily beat analysts' forecasts.
Elsewhere, electric car maker Tesla rose 2 percent after reporting its first quarterly profit in three years.
UPDATE: Justin Timberlake: 'I had no idea' voting selfie was illegal
NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Timberlake has some advice for taking part in the presidential election next month: Vote, but don't take a selfie while you're doing it.
A ballot box selfie Timberlake took as he voted in his native Tennessee earlier this week apparently violated a new state law that bars voters from taking photographs or video while they're inside a polling place. The picture prompted a reminder of the law from state officials.
The singer and actor addressed the controversy during an appearance on "The Tonight Show" Wednesday, telling host Jimmy Fallon he thought he was inspiring people with the picture and "had no idea" it was illegal.
A recent Associated Press review found that 17 states, including Tennessee, have laws preventing ballot selfies.